Engineering and Information Sciences


Annette Worthy

Esteem Factors

Key Note Address/Invited Presentation

2011 Gursey Institute, Instanbul, Turkey

Dec 3rd 2008 - DEc 7th 2008
"Light Induced Waveguides and their Applications to Nanophotonics" Dec 2008 at SASTRA University, Thanjuvar, Tamil Nadu, India

2010 Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morrocco

March 28th 2009 - April 1st 2009
"Liquid Crystal Technologies", Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico 2009

January 14th 2008 - Janaury 17th 2008u
IEEE Winter Topicals 2008 "Nonlinear Photonics Sorrento Conference", Sorrento, Italy, Jan 2008

Conference organisation or management
May 4th 2008 - May 7th 2008
Mathematics Applied to Liquid Crystal Technologies

Current Positions:

See website

Research Interests:

Solitary waves and solitons are particular types of nonlinear waves which arise in a large number of physical applications. They were originally observed in the context of water waves in 1836, but have since been shown to occur in applications ranging from geophysics, oceanography, meteorology, fibre optics to biology. Perhaps their most important application is to optical telecommunications, where they are being used as the basic bit in signal streams. Their first use in this context is the optical trunk line between Adelaide and Perth. Since 1995 my research has focused on developing mathematical methods to describe the evolution of solitary waves.

Due to the backlog in processing data transmission, Nematicons (solitary waves) have been proposed as the basis for photonic devices at the micron scale to replace existing electrical switches in current telecommunication technology. My current research is focused on modelling self-guided waves in a special type of (nematic) liquid crystals and their applications to photonic devices, particularly micron and nano-scale switching and routing devices.

Thus the key concept and experimentally observed self-guided wave in liquid crystals is the nematicon, which is a self-guiding beam for which diffraction is balanced by the nonlinearity of the nematic of the liquid crystal, resulting in a stable, self-sustaining beam which can be used as a bit in a signal. With international collaborators Dr. N.F. Smyth (Edinburgh University, Scotland) and Professor A.A. Minzoni (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico), I have developed the only existing successful analytical theory for nematicon evolution in nematic liquid crystals. The results of this theory are in excellent agreement with numerical solutions and experimental results. This group of researchers is unique in developing an analytical theory based on the actual equations governing nematicons and their research has generated the interest of the leading experimental groups working on self-guided waves in liquid crystals.

In 2006, this joint international research resulted in the awarding of an EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) grant worth £117,610 over 3 years (equivalent to an ARC Discovery Grant) to further develop and extend research in this general area. From this grant and previous ongoing work with colleagues, my current research into nematicons is focused on their interaction as a preliminary to the modelling of switching and routing devices. My research into nematicons has resulted in the publication of two joint papers , with another two under review. In conjunction with other European partners and industry, Dr. Smyth and Professor Assanto (University of Rome III, Italy) have submitted a research proposal under the European Union Framework VII worth some ¬2.1 million to develop marketable photonic devices based on liquid crystals. The results of my research form an integral part of the theoretical underpinnings of this proposal.

In addition to my current research on liquid crystals, I have also published research on a wide variety of fields, ranging from applications such as optical fibres and liquid crystals to theoretical areas, such as particle physics. Linked to my current research on nematicons, I have published research on signal propagation in optical fibres, which form the basis of current telecommunication technology. In detail, I have published research on water waves, Fibre Optics, Particle Physics, Oceanography and Mathematical Biology, in particular Davydov solitons. Davydov solitons are a mechanism for energy propagation along DNA chains, the understanding of which is vital for the understanding of how living organisms function.


" Research Grants
2010 Australian Academy of Science Scientific European Travel Grant, $6000
2010 UNAM Mexico, Research Grant $5000
2009/10 URC Travel Grant "Light Bullets, " $9000
2008: UIC International Links Grants Scheme: Modelling Signal Interaction in Nematic Liquid Crystals, joint with A/Prof T.R. Marchant, $9000.
2007: Faculty of Informatics Research Development Fund (FIRDS), $3000.
2006-2009: EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, U.K.): Coupling Coherent Structures and Linear Radiation, joint with Dr. N.F. Smyth and Prof G. Assanto, ¤£117,610 (ARC Discovery Equiv).
1996: Faculty of Informatics Research Quality Fund, $3,500.

Future Research Topics:

Discrete Nematicons, Dark solitons and Medical Mathematics

Research Students

  • Carl Ormerod : Controlled Release Drug Delivery Models- Polar Diffusion Problem