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Liquid Crystal Beam Steering Devices: Principles, Recent Advances, and Future Developments

1
College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA
2
Key Laboratory of Applied Surface and Colloid Chemistry, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710119, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Crystals 2019, 9(6), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst9060292
Received: 9 May 2019 / Revised: 31 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 5 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Crystal Optical Device)
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Abstract

Continuous, wide field-of-view, high-efficiency, and fast-response beam steering devices are desirable in a plethora of applications. Liquid crystals (LCs)—soft, bi-refringent, and self-assembled materials which respond to various external stimuli—are especially promising for fulfilling these demands. In this paper, we review recent advances in LC beam steering devices. We first describe the general operation principles of LC beam steering techniques. Next, we delve into different kinds of beam steering devices, compare their pros and cons, and propose a new LC-cladding waveguide beam steerer using resistive electrodes and present our simulation results. Finally, two future development challenges are addressed: Fast response time for mid-wave infrared (MWIR) beam steering, and device hybridization for large-angle, high-efficiency, and continuous beam steering. To achieve fast response times for MWIR beam steering using a transmission-type optical phased array, we develop a low-loss polymer-network liquid crystal and characterize its electro-optical properties. View Full-Text
Keywords: liquid crystals; beam steering; optical phased arrays; liquid-crystal waveguides; Pancharatnam‐Berry phase; volume gratings; fast response time liquid crystals; beam steering; optical phased arrays; liquid-crystal waveguides; Pancharatnam‐Berry phase; volume gratings; fast response time
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He, Z.; Gou, F.; Chen, R.; Yin, K.; Zhan, T.; Wu, S.-T. Liquid Crystal Beam Steering Devices: Principles, Recent Advances, and Future Developments. Crystals 2019, 9, 292.

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