Switchable blue phase gratings by NSL

Two-dimensional switchable blue phase gratings manufactured by nanosphere lithography

See our paper: Optics Express 25(19), 22608 (2017)

Switchable two dimensional liquid crystal diffraction gratings are promising candidates in beam steering devices, multiplexers and holographic displays. For these areas of applications a high degree of integration in optical systems is much sought-after. In the context of diffraction gratings this means that the angle of diffraction should be rather high, which typically poses a problem as the fabrication of small grating periods is challenging. In this paper, we propose the use of nanosphere lithography (NSL) for the fabrication of two-dimensionally structured electrodes with a periodicity of a few micrometers. NSL is based on the self-assembly of micro- or nanometer sized spheres into monolayers. It allows for easy substrate structuring on wafer scale. The manufactured electrode is combined with a liquid crystalline polymer-stabilized blue phase, which facilitates sub-millisecond electrical switching of the diffraction efficiency at a diffraction angle of 21.4°.

This project was performed in collaboration with Dr. Markus Wahle from the physical chemistry group of Prof. H.-S. Kitzerow at Paderborn University.