A diffraction grating comprises a liquid crystal (LC) cell configured to apply an electric field through a cholesteric LC material that induces the cholesteric LC material into a heliconical state with an oblique helicoid director. The applied electric field produces diffracted light from the cholesteric LC material within the visible, infrared or ultraviolet. The axis of the heliconical state is in the plane of the liquid crystal cell or perpendicular to the plane, depending on the application. A color tuning device operates with a similar heliconical state liquid crystal material but with the heliconical director axis oriented perpendicular to the plane of the cell. A power generator varies the strength of the applied electric field to adjust the wavelength of light reflected from the cholesteric liquid crystal material within the visible, infrared or ultraviolet.
 This invention was made with Government support under grant/contract no. DE-FG02-06ER 46331 awarded by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and DMR 1121288 awarded by the National Science Foundation. The Government of the United States has certain rights in this invention.