Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Ivan Smalyukh

Second Advisor

Paul Beale

Third Advisor

Daniel Jones


Topological defects are studied in many different fields of physics and have recently attracted the attention of researchers due to the interesting applications they provide. Liquid crystals, classified as a mesophase, provide a model experimental system for discovering the physics governing these defects. The research presented in this thesis characterizes the dynamic properties of defect ensembles dubbed “toron-umbilic pairs” and unveils the mechanisms behind their motion. Two different manifestations of motion were observed and are described by their relationships to the systems’ parameters and by the interactions exhibited by the defects themselves.