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Opt. Materials Express: unusual behaviour of liquid crystal elastomer composites

Peculiar behaviour of optical polarization gratings in light-sensitive liquid crystalline elastomers

Matej Prijatelj, Mostafa A. Ellabban, Martin Fally, Valentina Domenici, Martin Čopič, and Irena Drevenšek-Olenik

Split Bragg peak due to a strong anisotropy of the photochromic effect

Abstract

The angular dependence of the diffraction efficiency of volume- type holographic gratings recorded in a single-domain light-sensitive liquid crystalline elastomer was investigated. Usually this dependence is expected to be very similar for intensity gratings and for polarization gratings. However, our measurements resolved a profound difference between the two types of the gratings: a typical Bragg peak of the diffraction efficiency is observed only for intensity gratings, while polarization gratings exhibit a profound dip at the Bragg angle. The appearance of this dip is explained by strongly anisotropic optical absorption of the actinic light during the recording process.

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