Transfer matrix method for light propagation in variable complex chiral media

Yu Wang, Shaohua Gao, Xinzheng Zhang, Hongyi Chen, Irena Drevensek-Olenik, Romano A. Rupp, Shu Chen, Jingjun Xu

By taking a cholesteric liquid crystal (CLC) as an example and treating it as a multilayer stack of birefringent plates, we use a transfer matrix method to analyze light propagation in a common chiral medium in consideration of interlayer reflection and transmission. Based on the transfer matrix, the electric field distribution can be expressed in the form of linearly as well as circularly polarized components, so as to discuss the change of the polarization state of light in the transmission process. The transfer matrix of the same medium with different chirality can be converted by only changing the rotation matrix in the calculation process. Electric field distributions, band structure, transmission, and reflection spectra are calculated when circularly polarized light is incident normally on CLCs or on composite periodic structures of left- and right-handed CLCs. The results obtained by using this transfer matrix method are in good agreement with those obtained by the method based on solving the eigenvalues of Maxwell's equations. Finally, the transfer matrix method is used to calculate the dynamic transmission properties of CLCs under external magnetic field, which is of great significance for the research of noncontact controllable optical devices. The presented computational method saves computing time and can be used for constructing new photonic microstructures with different chiral media.

Physics of Functional Materials
External organisation(s)
Nankai University, Qingdao University (QU), Taiyuan University of Technology, Shanxi University, University of Ljubljana
Physical Review E
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
102009 Computer simulation, 103021 Optics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Statistical and Nonlinear Physics, Statistics and Probability, Condensed Matter Physics
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