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Opt Express. 2009 Feb 2;17(3):1817-30.

Polarization insensitive imaging through polarization gratings.

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  • 1BEAM Engineering for Advanced Measurements Co., 809 S. Orlando Ave., Suite I, Winter Park, FL 32789, USA.


Liquid crystal polarization gratings exhibit high diffraction efficiency (approximately 100%) in thin material layers comparable to the radiation wavelength. We demonstrate that they can be combined for polarization-insensitive imaging and optical switching applications. A pair of closely spaced, parallel oriented, cycloidal polarization gratings is capable of canceling the diffractive property of an individual grating. As a result, the phase of the beam is not distorted, and holographic images can be formed through them. An anti-parallel arrangement results in a broader effective diffraction band and doubles the diffraction angle. Broadband diffraction spanning from 480 nm to beyond 900 nm wavelengths has been obtained for a pair of gratings with 500 nm and 633 nm peak diffraction wavelengths. Liquid crystal polymer cycloidal gratings were used in the study showing 98% diffraction efficiency over a large area, and allowed for the use of laser beams expanded to 25 mm. The characteristics of combined cycloidal gratings were tested with laser beams at both UV and red wavelengths.

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