From Event: SPIE Organic Photonics + Electronics, 2016
Plasmonic structural color has recently garnered significant interest as an alternative to the organic dyes standard in print media and liquid crystal displays. These nanostructured metallic systems can produce diffraction limited images, be made polarization dependent, and exhibit resistance to color bleaching. Perhaps even more advantageous, their optical characteristics can also be tuned, post-fabrication, by altering the surrounding media's refractive index parallel to the local plasmonic fields. A common material with which to achieve this is liquid crystal. By reorienting the liquid crystal molecules through external electric fields, the optical resonances of the plasmonic filters can be dynamically controlled. Demonstrations of this phenomenon, however, have been limited to modest shifts in plasmon resonance. Here, we report a liquid crystal-plasmonic system with an enhanced tuning range through the use of a shallow array of nano-wells and high birefringent liquid crystal. The continuous metallic nanostructure maximizes the overlap between plasmonic fields and liquid crystal while also allowing full reorientation of the liquid crystal upon an applied electric field. Sweeping over structural dimensions and voltages results in a color palette for these dynamic reflective pixels that can further be exploited to create color tunable images. These advances make plasmonic-liquid crystal systems more attractive candidates for filter, display, and other tunable optical technologies.
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