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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2008 Dec;78(6 Pt 1):061706. Epub 2008 Dec 23.

Surface-induced nonlinearities of liquid crystals driven by an electric field.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Fisica e Ingegneria dei Materiali e del Territorio and CNISM, Universit√† Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy.


We report the study of the effect of a static electric field on the huge optical nonlinearity of methyl-red doped nematic liquid crystals. Experimental data are well fitted using a theoretical model that takes into account the modulation of the surface charge density due to the impinging light beam. It is demonstrated that the optical nonlinearity can be varied by orders of magnitude with application of a low voltage below the threshold of the Fredericks transition. These results confirm the previously proposed model of surface induced nonlinear effects.

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