A first-order optical Freedericksz transition in a nematic liquid crystal doped by a small quantity of a dichroic dye with negative dichroism is observed. The initial homeotropic state corresponds to maximum absorption for the linearly polarized incident beam, while reorientation reduces absorption increasing the optical torque: this process produces the positive feedback leading to the observed bistable behavior.
© 2013 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: December 19, 2012
Revised Manuscript: February 7, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: February 7, 2013
Published: March 12, 2013
F. Simoni, D. E. Lucchetta, L. Lucchetti, H. L. Ong, S. V. Serak, and N. Tabiryan, "First-order optical Freedericksz transition in a dye-doped nematic liquid crystal," Opt. Lett. 38, 878-880 (2013)