Nonlocal Optical Propagation in Nonlinear Nematic Liquid Crystals

, , , , and . Journal of Nonlinear Optical Physics & Materials (JNOPM) 12 (4): 525--538 (2003)


Optical propagation in nematic liquid crystals is characterized by a large and highly-nonlocal Kerr-like nonlinearity. We investigate the fundamental role played by spatial nonlocality in nonlinear optical propagation, and develop a model able to predict the main features of spatial solitons and modulational instability in nematic liquid crystals. The model unifies solitons in physical systems exhibiting different degrees of nonlocality, disclosing a connection between nonlocal solitons and parametric solitons in quadratic media. Finally, soliton breathing as well as other characteristics of nonlocal propagation are experimentally demonstrated in a specifically-engineered liquid crystal cell.

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