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Opt Express. 2008 Jul 7;16(14):10617-32.

Realignment-enhanced coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering and three-dimensional imaging in anisotropic fluids.

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  • 1The Institute for Lasers, Photonics, and Biophotonics, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14260-3000, USA.


We apply coherent anti-Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS) microscopy to characterize director structures in liquid crystals. We demonstrate that the polarized CARS signal in these anisotropic fluids strongly depends on alignment of chemical bonds/molecules with respect to the collinear polarizations of Stokes and pump/probe excitation beams. This dependence allows for the visualization of the bond/molecular orientations via polarized detection of the CARS signal and thus for CARS polarization microscopy of liquid crystal director fields, as we demonstrate using structures in nematic, cholesteric, and smectic liquid crystals. On the other hand, laser-induced director realignment at powers above a well-defined threshold provides the capability for all-optical CARS signal enhancement in liquid crystals. Moreover, since the liquid crystalline alignment can be controlled by electric and magnetic fields, this demonstrates the feasibility of CARS signal modulation by applying external fields to these materials.

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