Dynamic response of large tilt-angle flexoelectro-optic liquid crystal modulators.
Fells JAJ., Welch C., Yip WC., Elston SJ., Booth MJ., Mehl GH., Wilkinson TD., Morris SM.
We present here the first time-resolved tilt-angle and retardance measurements for large-tilt (>45°) flexoelectro-optic liquid crystal modulators. These devices have potential for next generation fast switching (>1 kHz), 0-2π analog phase spatial light modulators (SLMs), with applications in optical beamsteering, microscopy and micromachining. The chiral nematic device used consisted of a mixture of CBC7CB and the chiral dopant R5011 in a nominally 5 µm-thick cell, aligned in the uniform lying helix mode. As the device is dynamically switched over angles of ± 54°, retardance changes of up to 0.17λ are observed. Furthermore, the time-resolved measurements reveal an asymmetry in the tilt in the optic-axis depending on the polarity of the applied electric field. The change in the optic-axis exhibits a pattern dependence, whereby it is determined by both the pulse history and the applied field. This pattern dependence results in tilt-angle errors of up to 8.8°, which could manifest as phase errors as large as 35.2° in potential SLMs. These time domain measurements may allow correction of these deterministic errors, to realize practical devices.