Abstract

We present a detailed theoretical, experimental, and numerical study of light diffusion and diffusing-wave spectroscopy in nematic liquid crystals. We report on experiments showing that the transport of light energy is governed by an anisotropic correlation diffusion equation, and we measure the parallel and the perpendicular components of the diffusion tensor and the diffusing-wave spectroscopy temporal decay rate. We derive theoretically the correlation diffusion equations. We then calculate the diffusing-wave spectroscopy temporal decay rate, and we provide explicit approximate, yet accurate, expressions for the components of the light diffusion tensor, which we evaluate numerically as a function of material parameters of nematics. Using the actual scattering cross sections for a nematic, we simulate photon transport and verify that it is described at long times by an anisotropic diffusion equation with diffusion coefficients in excellent agreement with both those obtained experimentally and those obtained from our analytical expressions.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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