The 10th Anniversary of LSA: Featured Issue on Advanced Liquid Crystal Photonics

After nearly six decades of extensive material research and development, device innovation, and heavy investment on advanced manufacturing technologies, liquid crystal display (LCD) has become ubiquitous in our daily lives. Its applications span from smartphones, pads, notebook and desktop computers, TVs, and data projectors, to augmented reality and virtual reality, just to name a few. In addition to displays, liquid crystal is also a promising phase modulation material for manipulating light in multiple degrees of freedom and dimensions, from space domain (amplitude, phase, polarization, orbital angular momentum), frequency domain (UV, visible, infrared, microwave to terahertz), to time domain. By controlling the phase modulation profile along polar angle, new photonic devices such as spatial light modulators for beam shaping and adaptive focus, adaptive optics for beam steering and LiDAR, and various waveplates have been demonstrated. On the other hand, by generating the phase modulation along azimuthal angle, geometric phase optical elements with a highly polarization selectivity have found widespread applications in flat diffractive optics. In the meantime, by implementing functional groups or integrating special dopants into a mesogen, multi-responsive (thermal, photo, and biological) liquid crystals can be realized, which provides a soft-matter platform for assembling optical materials for photonics and integrated photonic devices, such as manipulators, actuators, lasers, and highly directional backlight systems. In addition, liquid crystals can be used as soft templates for directing self-assembly of functional nanoparticles and developing advanced chiral nanomaterials, which not only deepens the understanding on the fundamentals of soft matter chirality but also opens an avenue for transformative chiral photonics and chiral plasmonics that are associated with diverse applications, such as quantum communication, optical spintronics, optical information processing, and beyond.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of LSA and timely summarize the latest research progress in the field of liquid crystal photonics and promote academic exchanges between different disciplines in related fields, we invited international top scientists in the field of liquid crystal to organize this featured issue on advanced liquid crystal photonics, which reports the top research achievements of liquid crystal and related fields in recent years, and jointly promote the scientific and technological innovation and application promotion of advanced liquid crystal materials, devices and equipments.

The 10th Anniversary of LSA