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Vortex Induction via Anisotropy Stabilized Light-Matter Interaction

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Original languageEnglish
Article number143901
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


By sending circularly polarized light beams onto a homeotropic nematic liquid crystal cell with a photosensitive wall, we are able to locally induce spontaneous matter vortices that remain, each, stable and trapped at the chosen location. We discuss the dual light-matter nature of the created vortices and demonstrate the ability of the system to create optical vortices with opposite topological charges that, consistent with angular momentum conservation, both derive from the same defect created in the liquid crystal texture. Theoretically, we identify a self-stabilizing mechanism for the matter vortex, which is provided by the concurrency of light-induced gradients and anisotropy of the elastic constants that characterize the deformation of the liquid crystal medium.

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