Discrete propagation and spatial solitons in nematic liquid crystals

A.Fratalocchi, G. Assanto, K. A. Brzdakiewicz, and M. A. Karpierz

Opt. Lett. 29, 1530 (2004)


We investigate, for the first time to our knowledge, the discrete propagation of near-infrared light in a voltage- controlled array of channel waveguides in undoped nematic liquid crystals under planar anchoring conditions. This novel geometry enables us to drive the system from one-dimensional bulk diffraction to discrete propagation and, for larger excitations, to discrete spatial solitons, or nematicons. The observed phenomena are adequately described by a scalar model that encompasses the voltage-dependent reorientational response of the material.