Electrically switchable diffractive waveplates with metasurface aligned liquid crystals
October 17, 2016
Diffractive waveplates and equivalent metasurfaces provide a promising path for applications in thin film beam steering, tunable lenses, and polarization filters. However, fixed metasurfaces alone are unable to be tuned electronically. By combining metasurfaces with tunable liquid crystals, we experimentally demonstrate a single layer device capable of electrically switching a diffractive waveplate design at a measured peak diffraction efficiency of 35%, and a minimum switching voltage of 10V. Furthermore, the nano-scale metasurface aligned liquid crystals are largely independent of variations in wavelength and temperature. We also present a computational analysis of the efficiency limits of liquid crystal based diffractive waveplates, and compare this analysis to experimental measurements.