In this paper we review the state of the art in the field of liquid-crystal tunable guided-wave photonic devices, a unique type of fill-once, molecular-level actuated, optofluidic systems. These have recently attracted significant research interest as potential candidates for low-cost, highly functional photonic elements. We cover a full range of structures, which span from micromachined liquid-crystal on silicon devices to periodic structures and liquid-crystal infiltrated photonic crystal fibers, with focus on key-applications for photonics. Various approaches on the control of the LC molecular orientation are assessed, including electro-, thermo- and all-optical switching. Special attention is paid to practical issues regarding liquid-crystal infiltration, molecular alignment and actuation, low-power operation, as well as their integrability in chip-scale or fiber-based devices.
Royal Society of Chemistry
1 Jan 2012
Volume: 12 Issue: 19 Pages: 3598-3610
Lab on a Chip