In Soft Matter, octupolar order is not just an exotic mathematical curio. Liquid crystals have already provided a noticeable case of soft ordered materials for which a (second-rank) quadrupolar order tensor may not suffice to capture the complexity of the condensed phases they can exhibit. This lecture will discuss the properties of a third-rank order tensor capable of describing these more complex phases. In particular, it will be shown that octupolar order tensors come in two separate, equally abundant variants. This fact, which will be given a simple geometric interpretation, anticipates the possible existence of two distinct octupolar sub-phases.
- Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar