We have investigated tunable terahertz (THz) phase shifters that are based on a sandwiched liquid crystal (LC) cell with indium-tin-oxide (ITO) nanowhiskers (NWhs) as transparent electrodes. More than 360° of phase shift at 1.0 THz was achieved at a driving voltage as low as ~2.6 V (rms). This is approximately 40 times smaller than that reported in previous works using an electrically tuned LC device. Significance of the NWhs in reducing the required voltage is demonstrated. Overall transmittance of the device is as high as 30%, which is accountable by absorption losses of ITO NWhs, quartz substrate and LC. Experimental results are in good agreement with a theoretical formulism while taking into account super-thick LC cells (~1 mm) and pretilt angles. We also propose and demonstrate a novel THz technique for measuring pretilt angles of liquid crystals.
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