Abstract

We investigate thin phase polarization holographic gratings recorded with two waves with orthogonal linear polarizations in materials in which illumination with linearly/circularly polarized light gives rise to linear/circular birefringence. The theoretical analysis shows that the presence of circular photoanisotropy changes significantly the diffraction characteristics of the gratings. The intensities of the waves diffracted in the +1 and −1 orders of diffraction and their ratio depend substantially on the reconstructing-wave polarization. Experiments with films of side-chain liquid-crystalline azobenzene polyester that is a photoanisotropic material of the considered type confirm the unusual polarization properties. It is shown that polarization holography may be used for real-time simultaneous measurement of photoinduced linear and circular birefringence.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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