We derive theoretical expressions for the eigenvalues and the eigenvectors for a twisted-nematic liquid-crystal display (LCD) as a function of the twist angle and the birefringence by use of the Jones-matrix formalism. These polarization eigenvectors are of particular interest for phase-only transmission because they propagate unchanged through the display. We find that the eigenvectors are elliptically polarized and that the ellipticity changes as a function of the birefringence of the LCD (which is proportional to the external voltage applied to the display). We can define an average eigenvector over a desired range for the applied voltage. We show, using Jones matrices, how this average eigenvector can be generated using a quarter-wave plate and a linear polarizer having appropriate orientation angles. Using this average eigenvector, we show that superior phase-only operation can be obtained over a given operating range for the LCD compared with other approaches.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: May 14, 1997
Revised Manuscript: September 8, 1997
Published: February 10, 1998
Jeffrey A. Davis, Ignacio Moreno, and Philbert Tsai, "Polarization eigenstates for twisted-nematic liquid-crystal displays," Appl. Opt. 37, 937-945 (1998)