Bragg gratings yield a single diffracted order when irradiated by a coherent beam at the appropriate Bragg angle. In
many cases, nearly all of the energy of the incident beam can be coupled to the diffracted beam. Hence these gratings
can form many useful optical elements, and this has been realized in 1-D, 2-D, and 3-D photonic crystals. Bragg gratings
made with liquid crystals offer the added dimension of dynamic properties through the large electro-optical effect
in liquid crystals. Applications for spatial light modulators are numerous, including optical switches, modulators, active
optical elements (e.g., lenses), laser sources, and tunable filters. We have been exploring a number of approaches for
making liquid crystal Bragg gratings, including holographic polymer-dispersed liquid crystals, cholesteric liquid crystals,
and homogenous nematic liquid crystals in hybrid devices. We have studied the dynamic properties of these Bragg
gratings by electrical, thermal, and optical stimulation. Modification and control of optical and dynamic properties have
been obtained through combinations of liquid crystals with polymers, combinations of various dopant materials, and
interactions of liquid crystals with organic and inorganic interfaces. We discuss the materials, fabrication, characterization,
and physics of liquid crystal Bragg gratings and present the results of various devices we have studied in our lab.
We will also discuss potential applications.