Tuning of Photonic band gap via combined effect of electric and optical fields in a blue phase liquid crystal composite

Blue phase liquid crystals are soft 3D photonic crystals in which the liquid crystal molecules self-assemble to form a cubic structure with lattice spacing of a few hundred nanometers resulting in selective reflection of colours in the visible spectrum. The corresponding wavelength or the ‘photonic band gap’ can be tuned using various external stimuli such as thermal, electric, magnetic and optical fields. Here, we report efficient tuning of photonic band gap by utilising the combination of electric and optical fields in a blue phase liquid crystalline system. The studies indicate that the chirality of the medium has a direct bearing on the direction of the wavelength shift and the extent of the photonic band gap tunability. More importantly, the synergistic effect of the two fields helps in reversible tuning of the band gap.

(Colour online)