Research project is (co) funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.
UL Member: Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
Project: Methods and materials for photoalignment templates for chiral liquid crystal lenses and photonic components
Period: 1. 1. 2021 - 31. 12. 2024
Range per year: 1,35 FTE category: A
Head: Miha Ravnik
Research activity: Natural sciences and mathematics
Liquid crystal is a soft material that self-organizes, and can be manipulated by the alignment at the surfaces or by the application of an electric or optical field. In this project we will realise different photonic components based on 3D birefringent structures realized by photo-alignment to achieve all-optical steering of light. Specifically, the aim is to produce diffractive lenses, waveguides, bistable devices and to study the photo-alignment for fast switching ferro-electric phases. The development will use complex sub-wavelength alignment patterns at the surfaces in combination with electric fields between electrodes to obtain dynamic steering and optical non-linearities of the liquid crystal structures. The project involves technology to fabricate devices, optical experiments to test the devices, and numerical simulations to understand the operation and improve the design. The lenses and waveguides will be controlled by the anisotropy of the bulk liquid crystalline structures, which are determined by the surface-imposed alignment patterns. The bi-stable liquid crystal configurations will be switched between scattering and clear states, which is relevant for use in smart windows with very low power consumption, because energy may be only required to switch between states. Finally, this project which involves three partners and is combination of experiments and modelling, is aimed to develop novel disruptive means for control of the flow of light at the microscale.