Submicrosecond electro-optic switching in the liquid-crystal smectic A phase: The soft-mode ferroelectric effect

Andersson, G.; Dahl, I.; Keller, P.; Kuczynski, W.; Lagerwall, S. T.; Skarp, K.; Stebler, B.
August 1987
Applied Physics Letters;8/31/1987, Vol. 51 Issue 9, p640
Academic Journal
A new liquid-crystal electro-optic modulating device similar to the surface-stabilized ferroelectric liquid-crystal device is described. It uses the same kind of ferroelectric chiral smectics and the same geometry as that device (thin sample in the ‘‘bookshelf ’’ layer arrangement) but instead of using a tilted smectic phase like the C* phase, it utilizes the above-lying, nonferroelectric A phase, taking advantage of the electroclinic effect. The achievable optical intensity modulation that can be detected through the full range of the A phase is considerably lower than for the surface-stabilized device, but the response is much faster. Furthermore, the response is strictly linear with respect to the applied electric field. The device concept is thus appropriate for modulator rather than for display applications. We describe the underlying physics and present measurements of induced tilt angle, of light modulation depth, and of rise time.


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