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20 September 2007 Optimization of optical switching with a ferroelectric liquid crystal modulator
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In this work we present a simple method for the characterization of a ferroelectric liquid crystal (FLC) optical modulator and the optimization of its contrast ratio. This device acts as switchable wave-plate, where the orientation of the principal axes rotates under the action of an applied bipolar voltage. It is designed to produce a binary intensity modulation when the phase shift introduced between the principal axes is equal to 180 degrees (half wave-plate). We present a simple technique to optimize its response when the phase shift differs from this ideal value, in order to produce a highly contrasted intensity modulation. The technique involves using elliptically polarized light and requires the use of an additional quarter wave-plate in front of the FLC modulator. We represent the polarization transformations on the Poincaré sphere to provide a physical explanation of the FLC optical performance, both in the standard operational mode as well as in the optimized configuration for non-ideal phase shifts. These situations are experimentally demonstrated using a commercially available ferroelectric liquid crystal cell and two He-Ne lasers with wavelengths of 543 nm and 633 nm respectively.
© (2007) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
M. M. Sánchez-López, P. García-Martínez, P. Velásquez, and I. Moreno "Optimization of optical switching with a ferroelectric liquid crystal modulator", Proc. SPIE 6695, Optics and Photonics for Information Processing, 669505 (20 September 2007);

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