Abstract

We have observed extraordinarily large optical nonlinearity in Methyl Red–doped nematic liquid-crystal film. Grating diffraction can be generated with an optical intensity as low as 40 µW/cm2, and a refractive-index change coefficient of more than 6 cm2/W is obtained. The effect is attributed to formation of an optically induced dc space-charge field and to the resulting reorientation of the highly birefringent nematic director axis.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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