Beam steering by liquid crystal elastomer fibres

Year: 2017

Authors: Nocentini S., Martella D., Wiersma D., Parmeggiani C.

Autors Affiliation: European Laboratory for Non Linear Spectroscopy (LENS), University of Florence, via Nello Carrara 1, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, Italy; Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, Sede Secondaria di Sesto Fiorentino, via Nello Carrara 1, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019, Italy

Abstract: The problem of utilizing a laser beam as an information vehicle and dividing it into different channels is an open problem in the telecommunication field. The switching of a signal into different ports has been demonstrated, to date, by employing complex devices and mechanisms such as the electro optic effect, microelectromechanical system (MEMS) mirrors, or liquid crystal-based spatial light modulators (SLMs). We present here a simple device, namely a mirror held by a liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) fibre, as an optically and remotely driven beam steerer. In fact, a considered signal (laser beam) can be addressed in every in-plane direction by controlling the fibre and mirror rotation, i.e., the deflected probe beam angle. Such movement is possible due to the preparation of LCE fibres able to rotate and contract under a selective light stimulus. By adjusting the irradiation stimulus power, elastic fibres are able to rotate with a specific angle, performing more than one complete revolution around their axis. The described movement is perfectly reversible as soon as the stimulus is removed.

Journal/Review: SOFT MATTER

Volume: 13 (45)      Pages from: 8590  to: 8596

More Information: The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC grant agreement no. 291349 on photonic micro-robotics, from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 654148 from Laserlab-Europe and from Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze (2015/0781 and 2015/0782).
KeyWords: Elastomers; Electromechanical devices; Fibers; Laser beams; Light modulators; Liquid crystals; Liquids; MEMS; Microelectromechanical devices; Mirrors, Complex devices; Elastic fibres; Electrooptic effects; In-plane direction; Light stimuli; Liquid crystal elastomers; Microelectromechanical system mirrors; Spatial light modulators; Laser mirrors
DOI: 10.1039/c7sm02063e

Citations: 46
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