OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 52, Iss. 31 — Nov. 1, 2013
  • pp: 7469–7478

Electrically controlled diffraction employing electrophoresis, supercapacitance, and total internal reflection

Jason C. Radel and Lorne A. Whitehead  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 52, Issue 31, pp. 7469-7478 (2013)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (864 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The reflectance of a surface can be altered by controlling the concentration of dye ions in a region adjacent to an optically transparent and electrically conductive thin film. We present a method for nonmechanical light deflection achieved by altering the reflectance of a diffraction grating, an approach that creates new diffraction peaks that lie between those associated with the original grating spacing. We have demonstrated this effect by applying an electrical potential difference between interdigitated indium-tin oxide (ITO) electrodes and measuring the intensity of one of the new diffraction peaks. The measured diffraction peak intensities were found to reversibly deflect approximately 7% of the reflected light to previously nonexistent peaks. The diffraction grating was formed by patterning a thin film of planar, untreated ITO on a glass substrate using standard photolithography techniques. The size scale for this method of electrically controlled diffraction is limited only by the lithographic process; thus there is potential for the grating to deflect light to angles greater than those achievable using other methods. This approach could be used in applications such as telecommunications, where large deflection angles are required, or other applications where alternate beam-steering methods are cost prohibitive.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(050.1950) Diffraction and gratings : Diffraction gratings
(240.0240) Optics at surfaces : Optics at surfaces
(260.6970) Physical optics : Total internal reflection
(190.2055) Nonlinear optics : Dynamic gratings
(240.6645) Optics at surfaces : Surface differential reflectance

ToC Category:
Optics at Surfaces

Original Manuscript: July 26, 2013
Revised Manuscript: October 1, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: October 1, 2013
Published: October 21, 2013

Jason C. Radel and Lorne A. Whitehead, "Electrically controlled diffraction employing electrophoresis, supercapacitance, and total internal reflection," Appl. Opt. 52, 7469-7478 (2013)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. G. Keiser, “A review of WDM technology and applications,” Opt. Fiber Technol. 5, 3–39 (1999). [CrossRef]
  2. V. Nikulin, M. Bouzoubaa, V. Skormin, and T. Busch, “Modeling of an acousto-optic laser beam steering system intended for satellite communication,” Opt. Eng. 40, 2208–2214 (2001). [CrossRef]
  3. T. Chao, J. Hanan, G. Reyes, and H. Zhou, “Holographic memory using beam steering,” U.S. Patent7251066 B2 (31July2007).
  4. J. Younse, “Mirrors on a chip,” IEEE Spectrum 30, 27–31 (1993). [CrossRef]
  5. A. Clark, “A variable spacing diffraction grating created with elastomeric surface waves,” M.Sc. thesis (University of British Columbia, 1997).
  6. P. Mach, P. Wiltzius, M. Megens, D. Weitz, K. Lin, T. Lubensky, and A. Yodh, “Electro-optic response and switchable Bragg diffraction for liquid crystals in colloid-templated materials,” Phys. Rev. E 65, 031720 (2002). [CrossRef]
  7. S. Valyukh, I. Valyukh, and V. Chigrinov, “Liquid-crystal based light steering optical elements,” Photon. Lett. Pol. 3, 88–90 (2011). [CrossRef]
  8. D. Resler, D. Hobbs, R. Sharp, L. Friedman, and T. Dorschner, “High-efficiency liquid-crystal optical phased-array beam steering,” Opt. Lett. 21, 689–691 (1996). [CrossRef]
  9. P. Hrudey, M. Martinuk, M. Mossman, A. van Popta, M. Brett, J. Huizinga, and L. Whitehead, “Variable diffraction gratings using nanoporous electrodes and electrophoresis of dye ions,” Proc. SPIE 6645, 66450K (2007). [CrossRef]
  10. P. Hrudey, M. Martinuk, M. Mossman, A. van Popta, M. Brett, T. Dunbar, J. Huizinga, and L. Whitehead, “Application of transparent nanostructured electrodes for modulation of total internal reflection,” Proc. SPIE 6647, 66470A (2007). [CrossRef]
  11. B. Conway, “Transition from ‘supercapacitor’ to ‘battery’ behavior in electrochemical energy storage,” J. Electrochem. Soc. 138, 1539–1548 (1991). [CrossRef]
  12. M. Halper and J. Ellenbogen, “Supercapacitors: A brief overview,” MITRE Nanosystems Group, http://www.mitre.org/work/tech_papers/tech_papers_06/06_0667/06_0667.pdf .
  13. E. Frackowiak, V. Khomenko, K. Jurewicz, K. Lota, and F. Beguin, “Supercapacitors based on conducting polymers/nanotubes composites,” J. Power Sources 153, 413–418 (2006). [CrossRef]
  14. M. Born and E. Wolf, “Geometrical theory of optical imaging,” in Principles of Optics (Cambridge University, 1999), pp. 218–219.
  15. M. Mossman and L. Whitehead, “Controlled frustration of total internal reflection by electrophoresis of pigment particles,” Appl. Opt. 44, 1601–1609 (2005). [CrossRef]
  16. V. Kwong, M. Mossman, and L. Whitehead, “Electrical modulation of diffractive structures,” Appl. Opt. 41, 3343–3347 (2002). [CrossRef]
  17. P. Murau, “The understanding and elimination of some suspension instabilities in an electrophoretic display,” J. Appl. Phys. 49, 4820–4829 (1978). [CrossRef]
  18. S. Roldan, M. Granda, R. Menendez, R. Santamaria, and C. Blanco, “Supercapacitor modified with methylene blue as redox active electrolyte,” Electrochim. Acta 83, 241–246 (2012). [CrossRef]
  19. “Victoria blue B,” http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/product/aldrich/199699?lang=en&region=CA .
  20. “Loctite superflex RTV, clear silicone adhesive sealant,” http://www.loctite.com.au/3423_AUS_HTML.htm?BU=industrial&parentredDotUID=productfinder&redDotUID=10000009SUY
  21. MG Chemicals, “Silver conductive epoxy: 10mins. Working time/high conductivity,” http://www.mgchemicals.com/products/adhesives/electrically-conductive/silver-conductive-epoxy-8331/ .
  22. Melles Griot, “Silicon photodiodes,” http://ltlw3.iams.sinica.edu.tw/support/OpticsGuide/chap49_Photodiodes,Integrating_Spherres,and_Amplifiers.pdf .
  23. R. Wong, “Sub-micron pitch variable diffraction grating using nanoporous electrodes and electrophoresis of dye ions,” M.A.Sc. thesis (University of British Columbia, 2009).
  24. A. Bard and L. Faulkner, “Introduction and overview of electrode processes,” in Electrochemical Methods: Fundamentals and Applications, D. Harris, E. Swain, C. Robey, and E. Aiello, eds. (Wiley, 2001), pp. 1–43.
  25. P. Kurzweil and H. Fischle, “A new monitoring method for electrochemical aggregates by impedance spectroscopy,” J. Power Sources 127, 331–340 (2004). [CrossRef]
  26. E. Hecht, “Diffraction,” in Optics, 4th ed. (Addison Wesley, 2002), pp. 443–518.
  27. Wolfram, “Wolfram mathematica 9,” http://www.wolfram.com/mathematica/ .
  28. Grating Solver Development Co., “GSolver: rigorous diffraction grating analysis,” http://www.gsolver.com/ .
  29. Delta Technologies, Ltd., “Corning boro-aluminosilicate glass products,” http://www.delta-technologies.com/products.asp?C=1 .
  30. S. Prahl, “Tabulated molar extinction coefficient for methylene blue in water,” http://omlc.ogi.edu/spectra/mb/mb-water.html .
  31. J. Cenens and R. Schoonheydt, “Visible spectroscopy of methylene blue on hectorite, laponite B, and barasym in aqueous suspension,” Clays Clay Miner. 36, 214–224 (1988). [CrossRef]
  32. P. Tafulo, R. Queiros, and G. Gonzalez-Aguilar, “On the ‘concentration-driven’ methylene blue dimerization,” Spectrochim. Acta Part A 73, 295–300 (2009). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited