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Topological chaos in active nematics

Braiding by topological defects in an active nematic fluid produces macroscopic chaotic advection, such that the defects themselves act as effective stirring rods. The resultant mixing is revealed to be a result of sliding on a molecular scale, in work published recently in Nature Physics by the groups of Linda Hirst and Kevin Mitchell along with their collaborators. This study, led by physics graduate student Amanda Tan, represents an application of chaotic advection to the emerging field of active matter. 

Read more at physicsworld.