In liquid crystal cells with photoconductive poly(N-vinlyl carbazole) polymer layers, an external dc field can be completely screened by surface charge layers that develop at the liquid crystal–polymer interface. Under spatially modulated illumination, surface charge layers can be discharged in bright areas and lead to reorientation and spatially modulated Freedericksz transition. As a result, an asymmetric energy exchange in the photorefractive two-beam coupling process can take place. We propose a model to explain the origin of reorientation and phase shift in the two-beam coupling process, based on the profile and tilt of the refractive index grating. We also show that cells with just one photoconducting layer are more efficient than a typical design with two layers
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