Abstract

We derive theoretical expressions for the eigenvalues and the eigenvectors for a twisted-nematic liquid-crystal display (LCD) as a function of the twist angle and the birefringence by use of the Jones-matrix formalism. These polarization eigenvectors are of particular interest for phase-only transmission because they propagate unchanged through the display. We find that the eigenvectors are elliptically polarized and that the ellipticity changes as a function of the birefringence of the LCD (which is proportional to the external voltage applied to the display). We can define an average eigenvector over a desired range for the applied voltage. We show, using Jones matrices, how this average eigenvector can be generated using a quarter-wave plate and a linear polarizer having appropriate orientation angles. Using this average eigenvector, we show that superior phase-only operation can be obtained over a given operating range for the LCD compared with other approaches.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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