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Journal of the Optical Society of America B

Journal of the Optical Society of America B


  • Vol. 16, Iss. 3 — Mar. 1, 1999
  • pp: 488–497

Optical fully leaky mode characterization of a standard liquid-crystal cell

Fuzi Yang and J. R. Sambles  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA B, Vol. 16, Issue 3, pp. 488-497 (1999)

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Optical excitation of fully leaky guided modes is used to characterize in detail the optical tensor profile in a liquid-crystal layer confined between two standard glass plates as for a conventional cell. The angle-dependent reflectivity and transmissivity of such a structure are explored analytically, numerically, and experimentally. By suitable choice of incident and detected polarizations it is shown possible to obtain a detailed characterization of the director profile in the cell even though the leaky optical modes lead to rather broad features in the recorded data. Using a two-prism coupling technique, matching the prisms to the glass of the cell with identical index-matching fluid, allows access to sets of both reflectivity data and transmissivity data over a sufficient range of in-plane photon wave vectors to yield unambiguous director profiles when the data are compared with modeling theory. The specific cell explored in this study contains a homogeneously aligned ferroelectric smectic material in which there is a cusped, chevron, director profile. The results presented for such a complex structure show that this powerful new form of quantified conoscopy is likely to provide the primary route forward for optical characterization of conventional cells of this nature.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(160.3710) Materials : Liquid crystals
(310.2790) Thin films : Guided waves
(310.6860) Thin films : Thin films, optical properties

Fuzi Yang and J. R. Sambles, "Optical fully leaky mode characterization of a standard liquid-crystal cell," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 16, 488-497 (1999)

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  1. K. R. Welford, J. R. Sambles, and M. G. Clark, “Guided modes and surface plasmon-polaritons observed with a nematic liquid crystal using attenuated total reflection,” Liq. Cryst. 2, 91 (1987). [CrossRef]
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  5. Fuzi Yang and J. R. Sambles, “Optical characterization of liquid crystals by means of half-leaky guided modes,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 10, 858 (1993). [CrossRef]
  6. Fuzi Yang and J. R. Sambles, “The optical tensor configuration in a surface stabilized ferroelectric liquid crystal determined by using half-leaky guided modes,” Liq. Cryst. 13, 1 (1993). [CrossRef]
  7. Fuzi Yang and J. R. Sambles, “Optical characterization of a uniaxial material using the polarization-conversion reflectivity technique,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 11, 605 (1994). [CrossRef]
  8. D. Y. K. Ko and J. R. Sambles, “Scattering matrix method for propagation of radiation in stratified media: attenuated total reflection studies of liquid crystals,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 5, 1863 (1988). [CrossRef]
  9. D. J. Mikulin, D. A. Coley, and J. R. Sambles, “Fitting reflectivity data from liquid crystal cells using genetic algorithms,” Liq. Cryst. 22, 301 (1997). [CrossRef]
  10. N. Itoh, M. Koden, S. Miyoshi, and T. Wada, “Study of molecular orientational states of ferroelectric liquid crystals in a surface stabilized geometry,” Liq. Cryst. 15, 669 (1993). [CrossRef]

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