Guilhem Poy and Slobodan Žumer with coworkers published an article in Nature Photonics

Date of publication: 8. 6. 2022
In focus

Guilhem Poy, our former Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow, and Slobodan Žumer, in collaboration with the experimental group of Ivan Smalyukh in Boulder at the University of Colorado, published the article Interaction and co-assembly of optical and topological solitons in the journal Nature Photonics. The authors focused on thin layers of frustrated chiral nematics, which on the one hand allow self-focusing of laser light with the formation of optical solitons and on the other the existence of topological solitons, which are fascinating localized topologically protected disturbances in the order parameter. Using theoretical, simulation, and experimental approaches, they studied the optomechanical interaction of optical and topological solitons, which is related to the transfer of momentum between light and matter and to force due to the nonlocal orientation elasticity of chiral liquid crystals. The delicate balance of both forces enables dynamic control and spatial localization of topological solitons. Further, an unusual traction effect of optical solitons allowing a light-induced periodic arrangement of topological solitons was identified. All this opens up new possibilities for photonic applications based on topological soft matter.