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Optical Data Processing and Storage

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Photovoltaic light valving induced in a vertically aligned nematic liquid crystal on a x-cut Fe:LiNbO3substrate

Alexander Lorenz
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Chemistry, Paderborn University, Warburger, Paderborn, Germany
  • Institute of Chemistry, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Lin Jiao / Dean R. Evans
  • Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, USA
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Published Online: 2018-11-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/odps-2018-0002


Photovoltaic fields induced in x-cut Fe-doped lithium niobate (Fe:LiNbO3)were used to achieve optically induced defect formation and light valving in a vertically aligned nematic liquid crystal. Initially, the optical axis of the LC was vertically aligned (along the surface-normal of the planar, photovoltaic substrates) throughout the whole sample. Samples were exposed with a focused continuous wave laser beam and investigated via microscopic imaging in-between crossed polarizers. The optical axis of the planar, x-cut Fe:LiNbO3 substrates was in the substrate plane and oriented parallel to one of the polarizers, which resulted in an initially dark state. Optically induced surface fields (with high in-plane components) generated within the substrates led to director reorientations and defect formation. Accordingly, the samples were locally switched into a transmissive state. The area affected by exposure was larger (300 μm) than the FWHM of the Gaussian exposure beam (14 μm). Switching from dark to bright states (light valving) could be achieved in the investigated samples much more eficiently than in previously investigated samples with z-cut Fe:LiNbO3-substrates. Realignments of the LC director were induced at lower optical power density (140 mW/cm2) than would be required to excite the intrinsically present nonlinear optical responses in a nematic LC such as the light induced Fredericks transition.

Keywords: opto-optic responses; nonlinear optical responses; soft matter; optical modulators


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About the article

Received: 2018-06-05

Accepted: 2018-09-22

Published Online: 2018-11-10

Published in Print: 2018-11-01

Citation Information: Optical Data Processing and Storage, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 8–13, ISSN (Online) 2084-8862, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/odps-2018-0002.

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© by Alexander Lorenz, et al., published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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