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Superfluidity of light in nematic liquid crystals

Ferreira, TD; Silva, NA; Guerreiro, A;

Physical Review A

Optical analog experiments have captured a lot of interest in recent years by offering a strategy to test theoretical models and concepts that would be otherwise untestable. The approach relies on the similarity between the mathematical model for light propagation in nonlinear optical media and the model to be mimicked. In particular, the analogy between light and a quantum fluid with superfluidlike properties has been studied extensively. Still, while most of these studies use thermo-optical media to perform these experiments, the possibility of using nematic liquid crystals to perform such optical analog experiments remains to be analyzed. This work explores how this medium can constitute an alternative to materials more commonly used in optical analogs, such as thermo-optical media, and how its tunable properties can be advantageous to explore and better control fluidlike properties of light. Moreover, we explore the analogy between the propagation of light and a quantum fluid, and propose a pump-probe experiment to measure the dispersion relation of the superfluid analog. © 2018 American Physical Society.