Abstract

Liquid crystal lenses are an emerging technology that can provide variable focal power in response to applied voltage. Many designs for liquid-crystal-based lenses are polarization dependent, so that 50% of light is not focused as required, making polarization-independent technologies very attractive. Recently, the dark conglomerate (DC) phase, which is an optically isotropic liquid crystalline state, has been shown to exhibit a large change in refractive index in response to an applied electric field (Δn=0.04). This paper describes computational modeling of the electrostatic solutions for two different types of 100 μm diameter liquid crystal lenses, which include the DC phase, demonstrating that it shows great potential for efficient isotropic optical switching in lenses. A feature of the field dependence of the refractive index change in the DC phase is that it is approximately linear in a certain range, leading to the prediction of excellent optical quality for driving fields in this regime. Interestingly, a simulated microlens is shown to exhibit two modes of operation: a positive lens based upon a uniform bulk change in refractive index at high voltages, and a negative lens resulting from the induction of a gradient index effect at intermediate voltages.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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