In this paper, we show that anisotropic photosensitive nematic liquid crystals (PNLC) made by incorporating anisotropic absorbing dyes are promising candidates for constructing all-optical elements by virtue of the extraordinarily large optical nonlinearity of the nematic host. In particular, we have demonstrated several room-temperature'prototype' PNLC-based all-optical devices such as optical diode, optical transistor and all primary logic gate operations (OR, AND, NOT) based on such optical transistor. Owing to the anisotropic absorption property and the optical activity of the twist alignment nematic cell, spatially non-reciprocal transmission response can be obtained within a sizeable optical isolation region of ∼210 mW. Exploiting the same mechanisms, a tri-terminal configuration as an all-optical analogue of a bipolar junction transistor is fabricated. Its ability to be switched by an optical field enables us to realize an all-optical transistor and demonstrate cascadability, signal fan-out, logic restoration, and various logical gate operations such as OR, AND and NOT. Due to the possibility of synthesizing anisotropic dyes and wide ranging choice of liquid crystals nonlinear optical mechanisms, these all-optical operations can be optimized to have much lower thresholds and faster response speeds. The demonstrated capabilities of these devices have shown great potential in all-optical control system and photonic integrated circuits.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes