Infoscience

Conference paper

Optofluidics based on liquid crystal microflows

By replacing common buffers with anisotropic liquids in microfluidics, an enhanced range of optofluidic functionalities is enabled. Such an anisotropic liquid is nematic liquid crystals (NLC), which exhibits optical properties that can be tuned by optical, electrical or mechanical fields, such as flow. We demonstrate an optofluidic modulator based on direct flow of nematic liquid crystals in microfluidic channels. We discuss this optofluidic paradigm both under steady state conditions, and under flow. Rapid pulsatile flows are detrimental towards more compact and ultra-fast devices. These were enabled via peristaltic pumps, demonstrating liquid crystal modulators operating above the limit of 3 kHz. We discuss the latter results, but also assess the feasibility of performing ultra-fast optics and additional functionalities for on- and off-chip imaging.

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