New photonic components thanks to Inge Nys

(02-03-2021) In the Liquid Crystals and Photonics group Inge Nys and her colleagues recently investigated different possibilities to obtain novel photonic components with the help of photo alignment.

Micrometer thin liquid crystal layers were produced to efficiently manipulate light beams (beam steering, focusing, light guiding, etc.).

Recently it has become possible to produce optical components with very high efficiency based on inhomogeneous thin liquid crystal layers. To realize this, the alignment of the liquid crystal at the substrates is defined by illumination of a photo-sensitive layer with polarized blue or UV light.

The new components, developed by Inge Nys and her colleagues, are not only thin but can also be easily fabricated and integrated, making them interesting for applications such as head-up displays and virtual reality glasses.

The article Patterned surface alignment to create complex three-dimensional nematic and chiral nematic liquid crystal structures  (Liquid Crystals Today) describes in more detail how different optical components are realized by combining liquid crystal with complex alignment patterns at the substrate.