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13 April 1999 New materials technology for latching electro-optic devices
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This paper presents the current status of a new class of liquid crystal material being developed for latching electrooptic applications. This new material has the unique property of being electrooptic and fully latching. That is, in one state, the material has the properties of a conventional liquid crystal, capable of being aligned with either an electric or magnetic field; in its other state, it is an optical quality solid that maintains the molecular alignment set while in the fluid state. Experiments have shown that current materials can be switched on the order of milliseconds, as is the case with conventional nematic liquid crystals. In the solid state, the electric field can be removed with no change to the previously set optical properties because the molecular alignment is frozen in place, which should last for an extended period of time. In addition, the material exhibits broad temperature stability in the solid state, enabling devices to be developed that operate from cryogenic temperatures to 80 degrees C without the use of a temperature controller. This new material is ideally suited for applications where the size and mechanical robustness of an electrooptic device is desired, along with the latching capability of optomechanical devices. This materials technology alone will currently not meet high-speed switch requirements. However, this technology can be integrated with other state-of-the-art high-speed materials to provide a high-speed latching device. Devices currently under investigation using this materials include optical switches, optical attenuators and tunable filters.
© (1999) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Patrick J. Hood, John C. Mastrangelo, and Shaw H. Chen "New materials technology for latching electro-optic devices", Proc. SPIE 3632, Optoelectronic Interconnects VI, (13 April 1999);


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