Abstract

An approximate analytical model was developed that links the fringing-field broadening of the phase profile of a liquid-crystal (LC) beam-steering device, and the resulting diffraction efficiency, to the physical parameters of the device including the cell thickness as well as the dielectric, optical, and geometrical constants of the device. The analysis includes a full solution of the Laplace equation for the LC device in which the broadening of the initial voltage profile into an effective voltage-drop profile, due to the fringing-field effect, is derived. It is shown that within the linear approximation used, the broadening of the phase profile is identical to the broadening of the effective voltage profile in the presence of the fringing field. On the basis of this model, the resulting broadening kernel of the phase profile is found to be proportional to the LC cell thickness. These results are found to be in an excellent agreement with high-precision computer simulations performed on the LC beam-steering structure, thereby validating this approximate linear model.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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