In-fiber nematic liquid crystal optical modulator based on in-plane switching with microsecond response time

Acharya, Bharat R.; Baldwin, K. W.; MacHarrie, R. A.; Rogers, John A.; Huang, C. C.; Pindak, R.
December 2002
Applied Physics Letters;12/30/2002, Vol. 81 Issue 27, p5243
Academic Journal
We describe a simple method and device design that enables fast in-plane electro-optic modulation in conventional nematic liquid crystal (NLC) devices. When combined with optimized NLC materials, this approach yields rotational speeds of 1°/µs (independent of rotation angle, over a wide range) at a moderately low voltage. The observed rotational dynamics indicate that even these high speeds may not represent fundamental physical limits. We demonstrate these ideas in a compact tunable NLC waveplate that uses microelectrodes patterned directly on the tips of optical fibers. These devices offer fast, continuously tunable optic axis with low insertion loss and good performance in the near infrared. Modulators that use this design have promising potential applications for polarization control and analysis in optical communication systems.


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