Abstract

Based on our fundamental work on liquid-crystal microlens arrays (LCMAs) driven and adjusted electrically, a new kind of arrayed optical switch (AOS) constructed by a key LCMA with a special dual-mode function of converging and diverging incident beams according to electrical signals applied over the LCMA is proposed. The LCMA leading to the AOS is constructed by a microcavity with a couple of paralleled electrodes. The top electrodes of the LCMA are fabricated by depositing a layer of indium-tin-oxide (ITO) film and a layer of aluminum film, respectively. The aluminum film is continuously patterned into a circular microhole array, and the ITO film only acts as a planar conductor. Both functioning films are effectively separated by the SiO2 wafer. Another SiO2 wafer is also coated by an ITO film as a planar conductor. The measurements show that the developed AOS can effectively switch on or off beams propagating in arrayed fibers by applying proper voltage signals to them. Compared with other conventional AOSs, the developed AOS demonstrates several merits, including greater integration level, lower cost, and suitability to high-power propagating beams.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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