Kelsey Darrah with Pino Strangi
Random Lasing in Liquid Crystals Doped with Dyes and Plasmonic Nanoparticles
Laser light is generated by merging two important physical mechanisms, amplification and optical feedback. Amplification is mainly due to gain materials, whereas the optical feedback is obtained through an optical cavity that allows for mode selection via light localization.  This light localization mechanism is typically created using two mirrors. However, it is possible to replace this cavity with a multiple scattering material, such as dielectric particles or nematic liquid crystals. [2-3] This partially-ordered system has demonstrated the ability to produce random laser action, using the fluctuations of the dielectric tensor to scatter and coherently amplify lightwaves. This phenomenon can be examined in both confined and boundary-free systems. This project will examine properties of this random lasing action in liquid crystals doped with fluorescent guest molecules and plasmonic nanoparticles.