Nonvariational mechanism of front propagation: Theory and experiments

Multistable systems exhibit a rich front dynamics between equilibria. In one-dimensional scalar gradient systems, the spread of the fronts is proportional to the energy difference between equilibria. Fronts spreading proportionally to the energetic difference between equilibria is a characteristic of one-dimensional scalar gradient systems. Based on a simple nonvariational bistable model, we show analytically and numerically that the direction and speed of front propagation is led by nonvariational dynamics. We provide experimental evidence of nonvariational front propagation between different molecular orientations in a quasi-one-dimensional liquid-crystal light valve subjected to optical feedback. Free diffraction length allows us to control the variational or nonvariational nature of this system. Numerical simulations of the phenomenological model have quite good agreement with experimental observations.


Nonvariational mechanism of front propagation: Theory and experiments
A. J. Alvarez-Socorro, M. G. Clerc, G. González-Cortés, and M. Wilson
Phys. Rev. E 95, 010202(R) – Published 17 January 2017