Magnetic routing of light-induced waveguides
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Among photofunctional materials that can be employed to control the propagation of light by modifying their properties, soft dielectrics such as nematic liquid crystals (NLCs) stand out for their large all-optical response. Through reorientation, the molecular distribution of NLCs can be modified by the electric field of light, permitting functional operations and supporting self-localized light beams or spatial optical solitons. To date, the generation and routing of such solitons have been limited by the boundary conditions employed to tailor the properties of NLCs in planar cells or capillaries. Here we report on spatial solitons in bulk NLCs with no lateral anchoring, where the application of an external magnetic field effectively controls the direction of propagation and the angular steering of the self-trapped wavepackets. Our results entail a completely new approach to the routing of self-localized beams and light-induced waveguides in three dimensions, without the usual limitations imposed by transverse boundary conditions.
author list (cited authors)
Izdebskaya, Y., Shvedov, V., Assanto, G., & Krolikowski, W.