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Thermo-reorientational solitary waves and their interactions in nematic liquid crystals

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HY2W05 - Physical applications


Gaetano Assanto, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy Tim Marchant, AMSI /The University of Melbourne, Australia Noel F. Smyth, University of Edinburgh, UK Rosa Maria Vargas-Magaña, Uni. Nacional Autónoma de México, MX 

The propagation and interaction of light-induced thermo-reorientational solitary waves in nematic liquid crystals is studied. These thermo-reorientational solitary waves form as the nonlocal refractive index response to extraordinarily polarized light beams is both self-focusing via the induced rotation of the constituent molecules, and self-defocusing owing to the temperature increase through optical absorption. These competing nonlinearities can lead to the formation of one- and two-dimensional multi-humped solitary and ring-shaped waves at high enough optical powers, with a volcano profile in the plane transverse to propagation. For a vector wave scenario,  interaction between the solitary waves lead to cases where the waves attract or repel depending on the effect of the two competing nonlinearities. The propagation and interaction of these light-induced thermo-reorientational solitary waves is studied using numerical solutions of the full governing equations and variational approximations. The variational solutions  are in  good agreement with full numerical solutions, especially given the approximations made in their derivation.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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