A new class of devices based on a hybrid combination of two different materials, nanotubes and liquid crystals, is presented. An array of individual vertically aligned multiwall carbon nanotubes creates a Gaussian electric field profile which reorients a nematic liquid crystal. The variation in refractive index acts like a graded index optical element which can be varied electrically. Results are presented from a device fabricated with 10 μm pitch micro-optical elements.
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