Digital polarization holography advancing geometrical phase optics

LETO / LETO-3 Spatial Light Modulators
Polarization Generation
Published on:
Authors: De Sio, Luciano / Roberts, David E. / Liao, Zhi / Nersisyan, Sarik / Uskova, Olena / Wickboldt, Lloyd / Tabiryan, Nelson / Steeves, Diane M. / Kimball, Brian R

Geometrical phase or the fourth generation (4G) optics enables realization of optical components (lenses, prisms, gratings, spiral phase plates, etc.) by patterning the optical axis orientation in the plane of thin anisotropic films. Such components exhibit near 100% diffraction efficiency over a broadband of wavelengths. The films are obtained by coating liquid crystalline (LC) materials over substrates with patterned alignment conditions. Photo-anisotropic materials are used for producing desired alignment conditions at the substrate surface. We present and discuss here an opportunity of producing the widest variety of “free-form” 4G optical components with arbitrary spatial patterns of the optical anisotropy axis orientation with the aid of a digital spatial light polarization converter (DSLPC). The DSLPC is based on a reflective, high resolution spatial light modulator (SLM) combined with an “ad hoc” optical setup. The most attractive feature of the use of a DSLPC for photoalignment of nanometer thin photo-anisotropic coatings is that the orientation of the alignment layer, and therefore of the fabricated LC or LC polymer (LCP) components can be specified on a pixel-by-pixel basis with high spatial resolution. By varying the optical magnification or de-magnification the spatial resolution of the photoaligned layer can be adjusted to an optimum for each application. With a simple “click” it is possible to record different optical components as well as arbitrary patterns ranging from lenses to invisible labels and other transparent labels that reveal different images depending on the side from which they are viewed.

Open Access

Publication: Optics Express
Issue/Year: Vol. 24, Issue 16, pp. 18297-18306 (2016)
DOI: 10.1364/OE.24.018297

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