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Opt Express. 2015 Jun 1;23(11):14010-7. doi: 10.1364/OE.23.014010.

Ultrafast all-optical response of a nematic liquid crystal.


Liquid crystals are superior optical materials for large area displays, but it is considered that their collective and slow-millisecond response makes them useless for ultrafast optical applications. In contrast to that, we here demonstrate an ultrafast optical response of a nematic liquid crystal, which is induced by an intense femtosecond optical impulse. We show that the refractive index of the nematic liquid crystal pentyl-cyanobiphenyl can be modulated at a time scale as fast as 500 fs via a coherently excited optical Kerr effect. The change in the refractive index is in the order of 10<sup>-4</sup> at a fluence of 4 mJ/cm<sup>2</sup> and is strongly polarization dependent. This unprecedented result opens new ways towards ultrafast all-optical modulation in liquid crystal-based devices.


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