Analog Optical Phase Modulator Based on Chiral Smectic and Polymer Cholesteric Liquid Crystals

Jay Stockley, Gary Sharp, Steven Serati, Kristina Johnson

Published by Optical Society of America Optics Letters Vol. 20, Issue 23, pp. 2441-2443 (1995)


A high-speed analog optical phase modulator based on chiral smectic and cholesteric liquid crystals is discussed. The chiral smectic liquid-crystal device functions as a variable-orientation half-wave retarder, whereas the polymer cholesteric liquid-crystal film acts as a polarization-preserving mirror. We use circular Jones calculus to describe optical phase modulation, using a half-wave retarder of variable orientation acting on circularly polarized light. The phase induced by this modulator is achromatic. Analog phase modulation of nearly 360° is demonstrated with a device switching time of 200 μs at 25 °C.

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