A new generation of reconfigurable optical components is conceived by bridging the photothermal properties of gold nanoparticles and the thermosensitivity of liquid crystalline materials. As such, gold nanorods (GNRs) heated using light are used to activate efficient hidden diffraction gratings realized in a blend made of a room temperature polymerizable liquid crystal (PLC) and nematic liquid crystal (NLC). Holographic liquid crystal polymer dispersed liquid crystal (HLCPDLC) gratings containing a small percentage of GNRs are fabricated with periodicity of 2.6 mu m by means of a conventional UV holographic recording setup. The HLCPDLC structures are characterized using morphological, optical, and thermooptical techniques. Because of the initial refractive index match between the polymer-rich and LC-rich regions, the "grating" is hidden and the films appear transparent and nondiffractive. Illumination of these GNR-containing structures with a suitable light source (808 nm) induces a local heating due to the plasmonic absorption of the GNRs. This heating induces a refractive index mismatch between the PLC and the NLC as the latter undergoes a phase transition from nematic to isotropic, finally resulting in a transmission diffractive structure activated over a few seconds exhibiting an efficiency of about 70%. The same HLCPDLC samples have also been tested as thermosensitive waveplates, enabling a new, fast methodology for quantifying the photoinduced plasmonic heating with a thermal sensitivity of similar to 0.04 degrees C. Moreover, thermoplasmonic driven waveplates represent a new avenue in the field of light controllable optical phase modulators.

Thermoplasmonic Activated Reverse-Mode Liquid Crystal Gratings

Placido, Tiziana;Curri, Maria Lucia;
2019

Abstract

A new generation of reconfigurable optical components is conceived by bridging the photothermal properties of gold nanoparticles and the thermosensitivity of liquid crystalline materials. As such, gold nanorods (GNRs) heated using light are used to activate efficient hidden diffraction gratings realized in a blend made of a room temperature polymerizable liquid crystal (PLC) and nematic liquid crystal (NLC). Holographic liquid crystal polymer dispersed liquid crystal (HLCPDLC) gratings containing a small percentage of GNRs are fabricated with periodicity of 2.6 mu m by means of a conventional UV holographic recording setup. The HLCPDLC structures are characterized using morphological, optical, and thermooptical techniques. Because of the initial refractive index match between the polymer-rich and LC-rich regions, the "grating" is hidden and the films appear transparent and nondiffractive. Illumination of these GNR-containing structures with a suitable light source (808 nm) induces a local heating due to the plasmonic absorption of the GNRs. This heating induces a refractive index mismatch between the PLC and the NLC as the latter undergoes a phase transition from nematic to isotropic, finally resulting in a transmission diffractive structure activated over a few seconds exhibiting an efficiency of about 70%. The same HLCPDLC samples have also been tested as thermosensitive waveplates, enabling a new, fast methodology for quantifying the photoinduced plasmonic heating with a thermal sensitivity of similar to 0.04 degrees C. Moreover, thermoplasmonic driven waveplates represent a new avenue in the field of light controllable optical phase modulators.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/238036
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