Nematic liquid crystal cells for optical spatial solitons (nematicons)

A. De Luca, A. Veltri, L. Pezzi, G. Coschignano, C. Umeton, A. Alberucci, C. Conti, M. Peccianti, G. Assanto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The study of optical solitons and light filaments steering in liquid crystals requires utilization of particular cells designed for top view investigation and realized with an input interface which enables both to control the molecular director configuration and to prevent light scattering. Up to now, the director orientation imposed by this additional interface has been only estimated by experimental observations. In this paper, we report on the design and characterization of liquid crystal cells for investigation of optical spatial solitons as well as on a simple model describing the configuration of the molecular director orientation under the anchoring action of multiple interfaces. The model is based on the elastic continuum theory and only strong anchoring is considered for boundary conditions. Controlling of the director orientation at the input interface, as well as in the bulk, allows to obtain configurations that can produce distinct optical phenomena in a light beam propagating inside the cell. For a particular director configuration, it is possible to produce two waves: the extraordinary and the ordinary one. With a different director configuration, the extraordinary wave only is obtained, which propagates inside the cell at an angle of more than 7° with respect to the impinging wave vector direction. Under this peculiar configuration and by applying an external voltage, it is possible to have a good control of the propagation direction of the optical spatial soliton.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging Liquid Crystal Technologies II
ISBN (Print)081946600X, 9780819466006
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
EventEmerging Liquid Crystal Technologies II - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 21 Jan 200724 Jan 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceEmerging Liquid Crystal Technologies II
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA


  • Liquid crystals
  • Optical devices
  • Solitons


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