Liquid Crystalline Order, Fluctuations and Defects in Active Matter
One of the most dramatic developments in liquid crystal physics in recent years is the study of systems in which the components are “active”, that is, supplied steadily with free energy which they transduce into systematic movement. Such systems are the natural way to describe collections of self-propelled organisms in a liquid-crystal framework. The field has evolved remarkably through the creation of well-controlled model systems in which the “active” motif finds play. My talk will summarize our theoretical work on the hydrodynamics, phase transitions, and defects in active liquid crystals, and our close interaction with experimenters who have created realizations of active liquid crystals in granular and colloidal systems.