Abstract

In this study, electrically tunable advanced liquid crystal q-plates (ALCQPs) that combine two q values in one device to generate optical vortex beams were fabricated using a photoalignment method that involves the use of azo dye, a surfactant alignment material. The electrically tunable ALCQP device could be modulated to control the shape and polarization of a circularly polarized Gaussian laser beam that propagated through the device. A Gaussian beam modulated by an ALCQP under suitable applied voltage showed a variation beam shape with helical wavefront, as demonstrated by Michelson’s interference. This helical wavefront beam carries an orbital angular momentum and can be used in an optical tweezers system to trap, move, and rotate particles simultaneously.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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