Modulation theory and resonant regimes for dispersive shock waves in nematic liquid crystals
2020 Elsevier B.V. A full analysis of all regimes for optical dispersive shock wave (DSW) propagation in nematic liquid crystals is undertaken. These dispersive shock waves are generated from step initial conditions for the optical field and are resonant in that linear diffractive waves are in resonance with the DSW, resulting in a resonant linear wavetrain propagating ahead of it. It is found that there are six regimes, which are distinct and require different solution methods. In previous studies, the same solution method was used for all regimes, which does not yield solutions in full agreement with numerical solutions. Indeed, the standard DSW structure disappears for sufficiently large initial jumps. Asymptotic theory, approximate methods or Whitham modulation theory are used to find solutions for these resonant dispersive shock waves in a given regime. The solutions are found to be in excellent agreement with numerical solutions of the nematic equations in all regimes. It is found that for small initial jumps, the resonant wavetrain is unstable, but that it stabilises above a critical jump height. It is additionally found that the DSW is unstable, except for small jump heights for which there is no resonance and large jump heights for which there is no standard DSW structure.