I analyze the optical angular properties of twisted-nematic liquid-crystal cells that operate in the normally white mode with twist angles of less than 90°. It is demonstrated that, although a reduction of the twist angle produces an increase in the asymmetry of the birefringence generated by a single cell when in the active phase, the positioning of two cells such that the face-to-face rub directions are crossed gives rise to a large amount of cell compensation, giving an enhanced field of view. The effect of the polarizer arrangement is investigated, and it is shown that the configuration required in order to maximize the overall optical transmittance when in the inactive phase also maintains the asymmetry displayed by the single cell when stimulated by voltages lying below that of the saturation voltage. Although employment of this polarizer design together with a lowering of the twist angle degrades cell contrast, a fast optical shutter from the light to the dark state based on a double-cell construction possessing improved optical angular properties is introduced. Such systems find applications in automatically darkening welding filter visors for which it is critical to combine both a fast response time to the protective state together with a large viewing cone.
© 1996 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article
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