Abstract

The analog switching mode in ferroelectric liquid crystals, sometimes referred to as “V-shaped switching,” has, thanks to its submillisecond switching capability, attracted much interest for future fast electro-optic displays where it is to be used for amplitude modulation. We have studied this mode for analog phase-only modulation. As V-shaped switching is based on a conical motion of the index ellipsoid this presents a challenging problem since both the orientation of the slow and fast axes, as well as the amount of birefringence varies in the switching process. We show theoretically, partly by means of Poincaré sphere analysis, that it is in fact possible to obtain near-lossless analog phase modulation between zero and π radians in an ideal V-shaped switching cell through careful tuning of the polarization state of the input light. Furthermore, we were able to demonstrate this experimentally in a fabricated cell. Although this cell deviated slightly from the ideal conditions, e.g., the tilt cone half-angle was 38° instead of the desired 45°, we still obtained a continuous phase modulation between zero and 0.78π rad with less than 2% modulation of the amplitude; the measured values agree very well with our numerical simulations of the real device.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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