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Title: Controlling optical beams in nematic liquid crystals
Author: Tope, Bryan Keith
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 5274
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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A major area of research recently has been the study of nonlinear waves in liquid crystals. The availability of commercial liquid crystals and the formation of solitons at mWpower levels has meant that experimental research and the need to understand how the solitons are formed and interact has been boosted. The first part of the thesis looks at how two laser beams in a nematic liquid crystal interact. Specifically research has centred on the problem of directing a signal beam to a target area by varying the input angle of the control beam. Different approximate models are developed to describe this phenomena, with the results from these models compared to a full numerical analysis. The first model developed is called the particle model and is based on the unmodified modulation equations. The results from this model were acceptable when compared with the results obtained from a full numerical analysis. This comparison is indicative that the underlying assumptions of the model did not capture an essential part of interaction between the two laser beams. The second model used to describe the interaction between the two laser beams was based on the law of conservation of momentum in the laser beams. Here the potential between the laser beams was modified to take into account the profile of the beams. The results from this model were in excellent agreement with results from the full numerical analysis, showing the key role potential between the beams plays in the trajectories of the beams. The interaction between dark solitons was also studied. The model used in this case was based on the modulation equations with a suitable trial function for dark solitons. The results from this model were in excellent agreement with the results from the full numerical analysis. The behaviour of the dark solitons shown by the approximate model and the full numerical analysis showing similar key features. This thesis sets out the equations describing the interaction of laser beams in liquid crystals. These are the equations used to carry out a full numerical analysis. This analysis is valuable in its own right and is the standard to compare the results obtained from other models but to achieve a deeper understanding of how laser beams interact in liquid crystals approximate models are developed so that the important parameters in each model can be identified. The Lagrangian describing the interaction of laser beams in liquid crystals is used in all the approximate models. The approximate models can then be developed through the use of suitable trial functions that adequately describe how the laser beams interact. The derivation of the equations and how these equations are solved is described for each model. The results from each model are compared to a full numerical analysis with a discussion of how the results compare.
Supervisor: Smyth, Noel ; Mackay, Tom Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: nonlinear waves ; liquid crystals ; solitons ; nematic liquid crystal ; particle model ; conservation of momentum ; laser beams ; dark solitons ; models