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Lasers & Sources

Harry Coles: Liquid Crystal Lasers: From Concepts to Practical Realisation

Harry Coles discusses the background to Microscopic Liquid Crystal lasers, key properties of the host and cavity design, and describes a prototype demonstrator used for holographic projection. A plenary talk from SPIE Optics + Photonics 2012.
24 August 2012, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201208.15
We describe the background to Microscopic Liquid Crystal lasers and then consider the key properties of the liquid crystal host & cavity design that lead to high slope efficiency (~70%), low laser thresholds (~50nJ/pulse), narrow line widths (<0.01nm) and quasi-continuous working (5kHz pulse rate) giving average powers of 5mW per pixel, or laser spot, continuously tunable over the whole visible spectrum. 2-D lenslet arrays, 100 x100, have been used to give high output powers and "white" light lasing in the far field. A prototype demonstrator (8"x5"x2") has been built and used for holographic projection and paintable and ink-jet printed lasers have been demonstrated and used on plastic, paper or metal foil substrates.

Harry Coles is the Professor of Photonics of Molecular Materials in Cambridge University, Director of the CMMPE and Fellow of St Catharine's College and the Institute of Physics. His research interests are Synthesis and Characterisation of Organic Optoelectronic Materials and their Applications. He has published over 250 refereed papers, 35 patents, and 450 conference papers and given over 90 invited/ plenary lectures at International Conferences. Honours include the Ben Sturgeon Lecturer in 2002 and the 2003 George Gray Medal for his research on Liquid Crystals and their Applications.