Simple and functional photonic devices from printable liquid crystal lasers

D. J. Gardiner, P. J. W. Hands, S. M. Morris, T. D. Wilkinson, H. J. Coles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


In this paper we demonstrate laser emission from emulsion-based polymer dispersed liquid crystals. Such lasers can be easily formed on single substrates with no alignment layers. Remarkably, it is shown that there can exist two radically different laser emission profiles, namely, photonic band-edge lasing and non-resonant random lasing. The emission is controlled by simple changes in the emulsification procedure. Low mixing speeds generate larger droplets that favor photonic band edge lasing with the requisite helical alignment produced by film shrinkage. Higher mixing speeds generate small droplets, which facilitate random lasing by a non-resonant scattering feedback process. Lasing thresholds and linewidth data are presented showing the potential of controllable linewidth lasing sources. Sequential and stacked layers demonstrate the possibility of achieving complex, simultaneous multi-wavelength and "white-light" laser output from a wide variety of substrates including glass, metallic, paper and flexible plastic.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationLiquid Crystals XV
EditorsIC Khoo
Place of PublicationBELLINGHAM
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-0-81948-724-7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2011
EventSPIE Optics & Photonics - San Diego, United States
Duration: 21 Aug 201125 Aug 2011


ConferenceSPIE Optics & Photonics
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • liquid crystal
  • photonic band-gap
  • random laser
  • printable


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