Abstract

Liquid crystal over silicon (LCoS) spatial light modulator technology has become dominant in industries such as pico-projection, which require high-quality reflective microdisplays for intensity modulation of light. They are, however, restricted from being used in wider optical applications, such as computer-generated holography, adaptive optics, and optical correlation, due to their phase modulation ability. The main drawback of these devices is that their modulation is based on simple planar or twisted nematic liquid crystals, which are inherently slow mechanisms due to their viscoelastic properties. Their use is also limited due to fact that the phase modulation is dependent on the state of polarization of the illumination. In this paper, we demonstrate that a polymer-stabilized blue-phase liquid crystal can offer both phase modulation and high speed switching in a silicon backplane device which is independent of the input polarization state. The LCoS device shows continuous phase modulation of light with a submillisecond switching time and insensitivity to the input light polarization direction. This type of phase modulation opens up a whole new class of applications for LCoS technology.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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