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All-optically prepared and controlled nematic liquid crystal light valve

United States Patent

February 27, 2007
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Colorado School of Mines - Visit the Office of Technology Transfer Website
The present invention provides a device that acts as an optical switch to control the intensity of a light beam through the action of a second control beam. This behavior is achieved through photoinduced anisotropy that develops in a monomolecular layer coating the inside surfaces of a liquid crystal cell. One of the surfaces is permanently aligned prior to assembly by illuminating the surface with polarized light in the presence of oxygen. The other surface retains reversible behavior, adapting anisotropy according to the orientation of the polarization of the control beam. Accordingly, an optically controlled liquid crystal light valve is provided that does not require contact-rubbing methods in order to permanently align one of the layers coating an inside surface of the cell.
Furtak; Thomas E. (Golden, CO), Yi; Youngwoo (Boulder, CO)
Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO)
11/ 225,918
September 13, 2005
The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of DMR-0213918 awarded by the National Science Foundation.