This work demonstrates the feasibility of a novel photosensitive and all-optically fast-controllable photonic bandgap (PBG) device based on a dye-doped blue phase (DDBP), embedded with a low-concentration azobenzene liquid crystal (azo-LC). PBG of the DDBP can be reversibly fast-tuned off and on with the successive illumination of a weak UV and green beams. UV irradiation can transform the trans azo-LCs into bend cis isomers, which can easily disturb LCs at the boundary between the double twisting cylinders (DTCs) and the disclinations, and, then, quickly destabilize BPI to become a BPIII-like texture with randomly-oriented DTCs. Doing so may quickly destroy the BP PBG structure. However, with the successive illumination of a green beam, the BPI PBG device can be fast-turned on, owing to the fast disappearance of the disturbance of the azo-LCs on the boundary LCs via the green-beam-induced cis?trans back isomerization. The response time and irradiated energy density for turning off (on) the BP PBG device under the UV (green) beam irradiation are only 120 ms (120 ms) and 0.764 mJ/cm2 (2.12 mJ/cm2), respectively, which are a thousand-fold reduction in photoswitching a traditional cholesteric LC (CLC) PBG device based on similar experimental conditions (i.e., materials used, azo-LC concentration (1 wt%), spectral position of PBG peak, sample thickness, and temperature difference for a working temperature lower than the clearing one). The BP PBG device can significantly contribute to efforts to develop a photosensitive and all-optically fast-controlling LC laser.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics