13 May 2011 A high throughput liquid crystal light shutter for unpolarized light using polymer polarization gratings
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Abstract
We report on a broadband, diffractive, light shutter with the ability to modulate unpolarized light. This polarizer-free approach employs a conventional liquid crystal (LC) switch, combined with broadband Polarization Gratings (PGs) formed with polymer LC materials. The thin-film PGs act as diffractive polarizing beam-splitters, while the LC switch operates on both orthogonal polarization states simultaneously. As an initial experimental proof-of- concept for unpolarized light with ±7° aperture, we utilize a commercial twisted-nematic LC switch and our own polymer PGs to achieve a peak transmittance of 80% and peak contrast ratio of 230:1. We characterize the optoelectronic performance, discuss the limitations, and evaluate its use in potential nonmechanical shutter applications (imaging and non-imaging).
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Ravi K. Komanduri, Kris F. Lawler, Michael J. Escuti, "A high throughput liquid crystal light shutter for unpolarized light using polymer polarization gratings", Proc. SPIE 8052, Acquisition, Tracking, Pointing, and Laser Systems Technologies XXV, 80520R (13 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.887140; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.887140
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