Abstract

Spatially continuous tunable optical notch and band-pass filter systems that cover the visible (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR) spectral ranges from 460  nm to 1,000  nm are realized by combining left- and right-handed circular cholesteric liquid crystal (CLC) wedge cells with continuous pitch gradient. The notch filter system is polarization independent in all of the spectral ranges. The band-pass filter system, when the left- and right-handed CLCs are arranged in a row, is polarization independent, while when they are arranged at right angles, they are polarization dependent; furthermore, the full-width at half-maximum of the band-pass filter can be changed reversibly from the original bandwidth of 36 nm to 16 nm. Depending on the CLC materials, this strategy could be applied to the UV, VIS, and IR spectral ranges. Due to the high performance in the broad spectral range, cost-effective facile fabrication process, simple mechanical control, and small size, it is expected that our optical tunable filter strategies could become one of the key parts of laser-based Raman spectroscopy, fluorescence, life science devices, optical communication systems, astronomical telescopes, and so forth.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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