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Issue 45, 2017
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Beam steering by liquid crystal elastomer fibres

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The problem of utilizing a laser beam as an information vehicle and dividing it into different channels is an open problem in the telecommunication field. The switching of a signal into different ports has been demonstrated, to date, by employing complex devices and mechanisms such as the electro optic effect, microelectromechanical system (MEMS) mirrors, or liquid crystal-based spatial light modulators (SLMs). We present here a simple device, namely a mirror held by a liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) fibre, as an optically and remotely driven beam steerer. In fact, a considered signal (laser beam) can be addressed in every in-plane direction by controlling the fibre and mirror rotation, i.e., the deflected probe beam angle. Such movement is possible due to the preparation of LCE fibres able to rotate and contract under a selective light stimulus. By adjusting the irradiation stimulus power, elastic fibres are able to rotate with a specific angle, performing more than one complete revolution around their axis. The described movement is perfectly reversible as soon as the stimulus is removed.

Graphical abstract: Beam steering by liquid crystal elastomer fibres

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Oct 2017, accepted on 22 Oct 2017 and first published on 23 Oct 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02063E
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017,13, 8590-8596
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    Beam steering by liquid crystal elastomer fibres

    S. Nocentini, D. Martella, D. S. Wiersma and C. Parmeggiani, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 8590
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02063E

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