Polarization properties and electro-optical switching behavior of holographic polymer-dispersed liquid-crystal (HPDLC) reflection and transmission gratings are studied. A theoretical model is developed that combines anisotropic coupled-wave theory with an elongated liquid-crystal-droplet switching model and includes the effects of a statistical orientational distribution of droplet-symmetry axes. Angle- and polarization-dependent switching behaviors of HPDLC gratings are elucidated, and the effects on dynamic range are described. A new type of electro-optical switching not seen in ordinary polymer-dispersed liquid crystals, to the best of the author’s knowledge, is presented and given a physical interpretation. The model provides valuable insight to the physics of these gratings and can be applied to the design of HPDLC holographic optical elements.
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