We provide experimental measurement of the Mueller matrices corresponding to an on-state liquid-crystal-on-silicon display as a function of the addressed voltage. The polar decomposition of the Mueller matrices determines the polarization properties of the device in terms of a diattenuation, a retardance and a depolarization effect. Although the diattenuation effect is shown to be negligible for the display, the behavior of the degree of polarization as a function of the input polarization state shows a maximum coupling of linearly polarized light into unpolarized light of about 10%. Concerning the retardation effect, we find that the display behaves as a retarder with a fast-axis orientation and a retardance angle that are voltage-dependent. The above decomposition provides a convenient framework to optimize the optical response of the display for achieving a phase-mostly modulation regime. To this end, the display is sandwiched between a polarization state generator and a polarization state analyzer. Laboratory results for a commercial panel show a phase modulation depth of 360° at 633 nm with a residual intensity variation lower than 6 %.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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