This paper presents an experimental study of the possibility of enhancing the response rate of a photoconductor-nematic-liquid-crystal structure. The contribution introduced by the inertia of the individual layers is analyzed for various structures and under various conditions. It is proven that, when the read-out is done with radiation from the mid-IR region, it is impossible in principle to achieve response rates higher than several hertz. This applies to all space-time light modulators of the given type, since the response rate depends not on the properties of the semiconductor but on the thickness of the liquid-crystal layer, which in turn is entirely determined by the wavelength of the readout radiation. © 2004 Optical Society of America

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