Liquid crystals for space instrumentation: optical properties of liquid crystal mixtures for polarimeters

Parejo, P. G., Álvarez Herrero, A. 2019. Liquid crystals for space instrumentation: optical properties of liquid crystal mixtures for polarimeters. Optical Material Express 9, 6, 2681-2698 DOI: 10.1364/OME.9.002681

Liquid crystal (LC) based polarization modulators will be used for the first time in space instrumentation in the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter mission. LC birefringence dependence on temperature and wavelength is key for the design of these instruments. A complete characterization of the optical properties of five different LC mixtures (ZLI-3700-(XX), BL006, MLC-6025-000, MLC-6610, and MLC-6053-000) in a temperature range between 20 and 75 degrees C and a range of wavelengths between 480 and 650 nm is presented in this paper. In addition, the effects of the variety of harsh environmental conditions during the space mission lifetime on the LC properties is reported. Based on the results shown in this work, the most promising LC material was selected to be on board the Solar Orbiter mission. (C) 2019 Optical Society of America under the terms of the OSA Open Access Publishing Agreement

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