Lasers were invented some 40 years ago and are now used in a plethora of applications. Stable liquid crystals were discovered at about the same time, and are now the basis of a large display industry. Both technologies involve photonics, the former in the creation and use of light and the latter in the control and manipulation of light. However, it is only recently that these two mature technologies have been combined to form liquid-crystal lasers, heralding a new era for these photonic materials and the potential for novel applications. We summarize the characteristics of liquid crystals that lead to laser devices, the wide diversity of possible laser systems, and the properties of the light produced.

Read full text on ScienceDirect

DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(06)71574-7