Nematicons and their electro-optic control: light localization and signal readdressing via reorientation in liquid crystals

A. Piccardi, A. Alberucci and G. Assanto

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 14 (10), 19932-19950 (2013)


Liquid crystals in the nematic phase exhibit substantial reorientation when the molecules are driven by electric fields of any frequencies. Exploiting such a response at optical frequencies, self-focusing supports transverse localization of light and the propagation of self-confined beams and waveguides, namely “nematicons”. Nematicons can guide other light signals and interact with inhomogeneities and other beams. Moreover, they can be effectively deviated by using the electro-optic response of the medium, leading to several strategies for voltage-controlled reconfiguration of light-induced guided-wave circuits and signal readdressing. Hereby, we outline the main features of nematicons and review the outstanding progress achieved in the last twelve years on beam self-trapping and electro-optic readdressing.