Thursday, December 12, 2013

Optical Nonlinearities and Enhanced Light Transmission in Soft-Matter Systems with Tunable Polarizabilities

Weining Man, Shima Fardad, Ze Zhang, Jai Prakash, Michael Lau, Peng Zhang, Matthias Heinrich, Demetrios N. Christodoulides, and Zhigang Chen

We demonstrate a new class of synthetic colloidal suspensions capable of exhibiting negative polarizabilities, and observe for the first time robust propagation and enhanced transmission of self-trapped light over long distances that would have been otherwise impossible in conventional suspensions with positive polarizabilities. Such light penetration through the strong scattering environment is attributed to the interplay between optical forces and self-activated transparency effects while no thermal effect is involved. By judiciously mixing colloidal particles of both negative and positive polarizabilities, we show that the resulting nonlinear response of these systems can be fine-tuned. Our experimental observations are in agreement with theoretical analysis based on a thermodynamic model that takes into account particle-particle interactions. These results may open up new opportunities in developing soft-matter systems with engineered optical nonlinearities.

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