Structured Optical Materials Controlled by Light

Year: 2018

Authors: Nocentini S., Martella D., Parmeggiani C., Zanotto S., Wiersma D.

Autors Affiliation: European Laboratory for Non Linear Spectroscopy, via N. Carrara 1, Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze 50019, Italy; Chemistry Department “Ugo Schiff”, University of Florence, Via della Lastruccia 3, Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze 50019, Italy; CNR-INO Sesto Fiorentino, Via Madonna del Piano 10Firenze 50019, Italy; Physics Department, University of Florence, via G. Sansone 1, Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze 50019, Italy; NEST, Istituto Nanoscienze – CNR and Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza S. Silvestro 12, Pisa, 56127, Italy

Abstract: Materials whose optical response is determined by their structure are of much interest both for their fundamental properties and applications. Examples range from simple gratings to photonic crystals. Obtaining control over the optical properties is of crucial importance in this context, and it is often attempted by electro-optical effect or by using magnetic fields. In this paper, the use of light is introduced to switch and tune the optical response of a structured material, exploiting a physical deformation induced by light itself. In this new strategy, light drives an elastic reshaping, which leads hence to a change in the optical response. This is made possible by using liquid crystalline networks structured by direct laser writing. As a proof of concept, a grating structure with sub-millisecond time response is demonstrated for optical beam steering, exploiting an optically induced reversible shape change. Experimental observations are combined with finite-element modeling in order to understand the actuation process dynamics, and to obtain information on how to tune the time and the power response of this technology. This optical beam steerer opens up full optical control of light in a broad range of structured optical materials.


Volume: 6 (15)      Pages from: 1800167-1  to: 1800167-9

More Information: The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union´s Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. [291349] on photonic microrobotics and Laserlab-Europe, H2020 EC-GA 654148 and from Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze (2015/0781). The authors acknowledge Ce.M.E. (CNR Florence) for useful scanning electron microscope (SEM) images and Dott. Hao Zeng, Dott. Pietro Lombardi, and Dott. Francesco Utel for their precious advices and discussions on the experimental measurements.
KeyWords: Crystalline materials; Finite element method; Optical materials; Photonic devices, Beam-steering; Direct laser writing; Liquid crystalline networks; Optical control; Reconfigurable photonics, Optical properties
DOI: 10.1002/adom.201800167

Citations: 54
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