Abstract

Polarization-independent refractive index (RI) modulation can be achieved in blue phase (BP) liquid crystals (LCs) by applying an electric field parallel to the direction of light transmission. One of the problems limiting the achievable tuning range is the field-induced phase transition to the cholesteric phase, which is birefringent and chiral. Here we report the RI modulation capabilities of gold nanoparticle-doped BPs I and II, and we show that field-induced BP-cholesteric transition is suppressed in nanoparticle-doped BP II. Because the LC remains optically isotropic even at high applied voltages, a larger RI tuning range can be achieved.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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