nemborewkb_rsa8.pdf (546.25 kB)
Download file

Radiating dispersive shock waves in non-local optical media

Download (546.25 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 15.01.2016, 14:04 by Gennady El, Noel F. Smyth
We consider the step Riemann problem for the system of equations describing the propagation of a coherent light beam in nematic liquid crystals, which is a general system describing nonlinear wave propagation in a number of different physical applications. While the equation governing the light beam is of defocusing nonlinear Schrödinger equation type, the undular bore generated from this initial condition has major differences from the standard undular bore solution of the defocusing nonlinear Schrödinger equation. In particular, it is found that the bore has positive polarity and generates resonant radiation which propagates ahead of it. Remarkably, the velocity of the lead soliton of the bore is determined by the classical shock velocity. The solution for the radiative wavetrain is obtained using the WKB approximation. It is shown that for sufficiently small initial jumps the nematic undular bore is asymptotically governed by a Korteweg-de Vries equation with fifth order dispersion, which explicitly shows the resonance generating the radiation ahead of the bore. The constructed asymptotic theory is shown to be in good agreement with the results of direct numerical simulations.


This paper was supported by the London Mathematical Society under the Research in Pairs Grant 41421 and by the Royal Society International Exchanges Scheme Grant IE131353.



  • Science


  • Mathematical Sciences

Published in

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences


EL, G.A. and SMYTH, N.F., 2016. Radiating dispersive shock waves in non-local optical media. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 472 (2187), doi: 10.1098/rspa.2015.0633


© The Authors. Published by The Royal Society


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Publication date



This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences and the definitive published version is available at







Usage metrics