Wavelength-tunable light shaping with cholesteric liquid crystal microlenses†
The ability to guide light on the mesoscopic scale is important both scientifically and technologically. Especially relevant is the development of wavelength-tunable light-shaping microdevices. Here we demonstrate the use of cholesteric liquid crystal polygonal textures organized as an array of microlenses for this purpose. The beam shaping is controlled by tuning the wavelength of the incident light in the visible spectrum. By taking advantage of the self-organization property of liquid crystals, the structure of the lens and its optical response are tailored by changing the annealing time of the single layer material during a completely integrated one-step process. The intrinsic helical organization of the layer is the cause of the light shaping and not the shape of the surface as for conventional lenses. A new concept of light manipulation using the structure chirality of liquid crystals is demonstrated, which concerns soft matter photonic circuits to mould the light.