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We investigate the behavior of disclination loops in the vicinity of the first-order nematic-isotropic transition in the Lebwohl-Lasher and related models. We find that two independent measures of the transition temperature, the free energy, and the distribution of disclination line segments, give essentially identical values. We also calculate the distribution function D(p) of disclination loops of perimeter p and fit it to a quasiexponential form. Below the transition, D(p) falls off exponentially, while in the neighborhood of the transition, it decays with a power-law exponent approximately equal to 2.5, consistent with a “blowout” of loops at the transition. In a modified Lebwohl-Lasher model with a strongly first-order transition we are able to measure a jump in the disclination line tension at the transition, which is too small to be measured in the Lebwohl-Lasher model. We also measure the monopole charge of the disclination loops and find that in both the original and modified Lebwohl-Lasher models, there are large loops that carry monopole charge, while smaller isolated loops do not. Overall, the nature of the topological defects in both models is very similar.



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Disclination_Loops_Nematics.pdf (4230 kB)

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