Abstract

We propose switchable two-dimensional (2D) diffractive gratings with periodic refractive-index modulation arising from layer undulations in cholesteric liquid crystals. The cholesteric cell can be switched between two states: (1) flat layers of a planar cholesteric texture and (2) a square lattice of periodic director modulation associated with layer undulations that produces 2D diffraction patterns. The intensities of the diffraction maxima can be tuned by changing the applied field. The diffractive properties can be optimized for different wavelengths by appropriately choosing cholesteric pitch, cell thickness, and surface treatment.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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