Droplet deformation and alignment are achieved in holographic polymer-dispersed liquid-crystal reflection gratings by applying an in situ shear during recording. High diffraction efficiency (99%) is obtained for light polarized parallel to the shear, with nearly zero efficiency for perpendicular polarization, and no increase of incoherent scattering. Permanent polarization dependence is related to stress-induced morphology changes of liquid-crystal droplets that are frozen by polymerization. The system is studied by electron microscopy and modeled by anisotropic coupled-wave and scattering theory. The morphology is consistent with the theory of small deformations of liquid droplets in fluid flow. Diffraction efficiency measurements are in agreement with theory incorporating this morphology as well as concomitant orientation and alignment of liquid-crystal molecules.
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