Schedule Jun 10, 2004
Critical Phases: Strange Elasticity of Liquid-Crystal Rubber
Leo Radzihovsky (University of Colorado / JILA)

I will discuss a class of physical systems that exhibit bulk ordered phases that are critical without _any_ fine-tuning. Such phases are characterized by strongly interacting Goldstone modes, whose long-scale properties are controlled by a nontrivial attractive fixed point and are therefore universal. I will illustrate this in a context of liquid-crystal rubber whose exotic elasticity is a direct consequence of a transition into a 'critical' solid phase.

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