We discuss mirages formed near a sun-heated wall, and consider the underlying physics. The temperature and refractive index variations in air near the wall are estimated, and a simple approximate picture of ray propagation is presented. Estimates of the thermal decay length and ray curvature are compared with experimental observations.
The three-dimensional optical anisotropy of photo-buffed dye-doped polymer films and the resulting orientation imparted to a liquid crystal in contact are probed using total internal reflection. Although the linearly polarized writing light generates a uniaxial distribution of dye molecules, the polymer films are biaxial, a result of symmetry breaking by the film surface.