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Liquid Crystal Nanotronics

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A new type of materials based on a hybrid combination of sparse nanotube arrays and liquid crystals to create a photonic micro-optical device. An array of electrodes are made from vertically aligned multiwall carbon nanotubes which are used to address a liquid crystal cell. The electrodes create a Gaussian electric field profile which is used to reorient a planar aligned nematic liquid crystal. The variation in refractive index within the liquid crystal layer acts like a graded index optical element which can be varied by changing the applied electric field to the carbon nanotube. Figure 1 shows results taken from a device fabricated with a 10um pitch between the micro-optical elements.

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