Switchable holograms open up the possibility of real-time electro-optical control of diffractive optic components. We have developed a novel photopolymer-liquid crystal material system which allows fast, single-step recording of holograms with diffraction efficiency controllable by conveniently applied electric fields. With the addition of a surfactant to our standard material recipe, we have achieved complete switching of a first-order Bragg diffracted beam into the zero-order with an applied field of approximately 5 V/micrometers and microsecond response time. We have also demonstrated image storage and electro-optical readout with these materials. Low voltage, high resolution scanning electron microscopy studies have confirmed that gratings formed in this material system consist of periodic polymer-dispersed liquid crystal planes. The critical fields for switching and the response times agree very well with a simple liquid crystal shaped-droplet model which we have applied to these gratings.© (1995) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.