Abstract

We report the observation of polarization-independent photochromic diffraction in an azo-dye-doped liquid crystal. The generation of the phase grating is more than 90% independent of the polarization of the writing beams, and the diffraction by the phase grating is more than 90% independent of the polarization of the probe beam. Unpolarized lamp light was also used to generate real-time phase gratings and self-diffraction. For the first time to our knowledge, photochromic phase modulation and light diffraction that exhibit more than 90% polarization independence for both writing and probe beams were produced in an anisotropic liquid-crystalline material.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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