Parallel aligned liquid crystal (PA-LC) devices are widely used in many optics and photonics applications to control the amplitude, phase and/or state of polarization (SOP) of light beams. Simplified models yet with a good predictive capability are extremely useful in the optimal application of these devices. In this paper we propose and demonstrate the validity of a novel model enabling to calculate the voltage dependent retardance provided by parallel-aligned liquid crystal (PA-LC) devices for a very wide range of incidence angles and any wavelength in the visible. We derive the theoretical expressions, and both experimental and theoretical retardance results are obtained showing a very good agreement. The proposed model is robust and well adapted to a reverse-engineering approach for the calibration of its parameters, whose values are obtained without ambiguities. The model is based on only three physically related magnitudes: two off-state parameters per wavelength and one global voltage dependent parameter, the tilt angle of the LC molecules. To our knowledge it represents the most simplified model available for PA-LC devices yet showing predictive capability. Not only eases the design of experiments dealing with unconventional polarization states or complex amplitude modulation, but it also serves to analyze the physics and dynamics of PA-LC cells since we have estimation for their voltage dependent tilt angle within the device.
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