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Spatially twisted liquid-crystal devices

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posted on 2023-11-10, 17:00 authored by Alicia Sit, Francesco Di Colandrea, Alessio D'Errico, Ebrahim Karimi
Nematic liquid-crystal devices are a powerful tool to structure light in different degrees of freedom, both in classical and quantum regimes. Most of these devices exploit either the possibility of introducing a position-dependent phase retardation with a homogeneous alignment of the optic axis -- e.g., liquid-crystal-based spatial light modulators -- or conversely, with a uniform but tunable retardation and patterned optic axis, e.g., $q$-plates. The pattern is the same in the latter case on the two alignment layers. Here, a more general case is considered, wherein the front and back alignment layers are patterned differently. This creates a non-symmetric device which can exhibit different behaviours depending on the direction of beam propagation and effective phase retardation. In particular, we fabricate multi-$q$-plates by setting different topological charges on the two alignment layers. The devices have been characterized by spatially resolved Stokes polarimetry, with and without applied electric voltage, demonstrating new functionalities.

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