Abstract

A high-speed analog optical phase modulator based on chiral smectic and cholesteric liquid crystals is discussed. The chiral smectic liquid-crystal device functions as a variable-orientation half-wave retarder, whereas the polymer cholesteric liquid-crystal film acts as a polarization-preserving mirror. We use circular Jones calculus to describe optical phase modulation, using a half-wave retarder of variable orientation acting on circularly polarized light. The phase induced by this modulator is achromatic. Analog phase modulation of nearly 360° is demonstrated with a device switching time of 200 μs at 25 °C.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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