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Advances in OptoElectronics
Volume 2008 (2008), Article ID 684349, 52 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2008/684349
Review Article

Holographic Polymer-Dispersed Liquid Crystals: Materials, Formation, and Applications

School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798

Received 29 August 2008; Accepted 30 November 2008

Academic Editor: H. Kwok

Copyright © 2008 Y. J. Liu and X. W. Sun. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

By combining polymer-dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC) and holography, holographic PDLC (H-PDLC) has emerged as a new composite material for switchable or tunable optical devices. Generally, H-PDLC structures are created in a liquid crystal cell filled with polymer-dispersed liquid crystal materials by recording the interference pattern generated by two or more coherent laser beams which is a fast and single-step fabrication. With a relatively ideal phase separation between liquid crystals and polymers, periodic refractive index profile is formed in the cell and thus light can be diffracted. Under a suitable electric field, the light diffraction behavior disappears due to the index matching between liquid crystals and polymers. H-PDLCs show a fast switching time due to the small size of the liquid crystal droplets. So far, H-PDLCs have been applied in many promising applications in photonics, such as flat panel displays, switchable gratings, switchable lasers, switchable microlenses, and switchable photonic crystals. In this paper, we review the current state-of-the-art of H-PDLCs including the materials used to date, the grating formation dynamics and simulations, the optimization of electro-optical properties, the photonic applications, and the issues existed in H-PDLCs.