Abstract

Laser induced director axis reorientation and order parameter changes in nematic liquid crystals give rise to extremely nonlinear optical responses characterized by nonlinear index coefficients that can reach values exceeding 103  cm2/Watt. An historical account and critical analyses of the theoretical backgrounds and experimental observations of several exemplary nonlinear optical phenomena are presented. Emphasis is placed on identifying and detailing the critical roles played by unique properties of nematic liquid crystals in these processes, including self-action effects, wave mixing, and switching phenomena for a variety of interaction geometries.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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