Optical path control of solitary waves in dye-doped nematic liquid crystals


  • Gaetano Assanto University Roma Tre
  • Benjamin D. Skuse University of Edinburgh
  • Noel Frederick Smyth University of Edinburgh




The light-induced steering of spatial optical solitary waves in dye-doped nematic liquid crystals is analyzed. Shining a control beam through the cell results in a boundary mediated change in the orientation of the molecular director, thereby a perturbation in the refractive index of the medium. This re-orientational effect can optically steer spatial solitary waves propagating in an orthogonal plane within the liquid crystal layer. The equations governing this steering are solved using a Lagrangian formulation, resulting in modulation equations for the self-trapped beam path. Very good agreement is obtained between solutions of the modulation equations and numerical solutions of the full governing equations.

Full Text: PDF

  1. M. Peccianti, G. Assanto, A. De Luca, C. Umeton and I. C. Khoo, "Electrically assisted self-confinement and waveguiding in planar nematic liquid crystal cells", Appl. Phys. Lett. 77, 7 (2000).[CrossRef]
  2. G. Assanto, M. Peccianti, C. Conti, "Nematicons: Optical Spatial Solitons in Nematic Liquid Crystals", Opt. & Photon. News 14, 45 (2003).[CrossRef]
  3. M. Peccianti, C.Conti, G. Assanto, A. De Luca, C. Umeton, "Routing of anisotropic spatial solitons and modulational instability in liquid crystals", Nature 432, 733 (2004).[CrossRef]
  4. M. Peccianti and G. Assanto, "Nematic liquid crystals: A suitable medium for self-confinement of coherent and incoherent light", Phys. Rev. E 65, 035603R (2002)[CrossRef]
  5. M. Peccianti, A. Dyadyusha, M. Kaczmarek and G. Assanto, "Tunable refraction and reflection of self-confined light beams", Nat. Phys. 2, 737 (2006).[CrossRef]
  6. S. V. Serak, N. V. Tabiryan, M. Peccianti and G. Assanto, "Spatial soliton all-optical logic gates", IEEE Photon. Techn. Lett. 18, 1287 (2006).[CrossRef]
  7. A. Pasquazi, A. Alberucci, M. Peccianti and G. Assanto, "Signal processing by opto-optical interactions between self-localized and free propagating beams in liquid crystals", Appl. Phys. Lett. 87, 261104 (2005)[CrossRef]
  8. I. C. Khoo, J. Park and J. Liou, "All-optical switching of continuous wave, microsecond lasers with a dye-doped nematic liquid crystal", Appl. Phys. Lett. 90, 151107 (2007).[CrossRef]
  9. I. Janossy and A. D. Lloyd, "Low-Power Optical Reorientation in Dyed Nematics", Mol. Cryst. Liq. Cryst. 203, 77 (1991).[CrossRef]
  10. A. Alberucci, G. Assanto, "Dissipative Self-Confined Optical Beams in Doped Nematic Liquid Crystals", J. Nonl. Opt. Phys. Mat. 16, 295 (2007).[CrossRef]
  11. A. Piccardi, G. Assanto, L. Lucchetti and F. Simoni, "All-optical steering of soliton waveguides in dye-doped liquid crystals", App. Phys. Lett. 93, 171104 (2008).[CrossRef]
  12. C. Conti, M. Peccianti, G. Assanto, "Route to Nonlocality and Observation of Accessible Solitons", Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 073901 (2003).[CrossRef]
  13. C.Conti, M.Peccianti,G.Assanto, "Observation of Optical Spatial Solitons in a Highly Nonlocal Medium", Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 113902 (2004).[CrossRef]
  14. B.D. Skuse and N.F. Smyth, "Interaction of two-color solitary waves in a liquid crystal in the nonlocal regime", Phys. Rev. A 79, 063806 (2009).[CrossRef]
  15. A. A. Minzoni, N. F. Smyth, and A. L.Worthy, "Modulation solutions for nematicon propagation in nonlocal liquid crystals", J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 24, 1549 (2007)[CrossRef]
  16. W. L. Kath and N. F. Smyth, "Soliton evolution and radiation loss for the nonlinear Schrodinger equation", Phys. Rev. E 51, 1484 (1995).[CrossRef]
  17. G. Assanto, A.A. Minzoni, M. Peccianti and N.F. Smyth, "Optical solitary waves escaping a wide trapping potential in nematic liquid crystals: Modulation theory", Phys. Rev. A 79, 033837 (2009).[CrossRef]

Author Biography

Noel Frederick Smyth, University of Edinburgh

Professor of Nonlinear Waves,

School of Mathematics




How to Cite

Assanto, G., Skuse, B. D., & Smyth, N. F. (2009). Optical path control of solitary waves in dye-doped nematic liquid crystals. Photonics Letters of Poland, 1(4), pp. 154–156. https://doi.org/10.4302/photon. lett. pl.v1i4.65