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Proceedings Article

Wide-angle nonmechanical beam steering using thin liquid crystal polarization gratings

[+] Author Affiliations
Jihwan Kim, Chulwoo Oh, Michael J. Escuti

North Carolina State Univ. (USA)

Lance Hosting, Steve Serati

Boulder Nonlinear Systems, Inc. (USA)

Proc. SPIE 7093, Advanced Wavefront Control: Methods, Devices, and Applications VI, 709302 (August 28, 2008); doi:10.1117/12.795752
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From Conference Volume 7093

  • Advanced Wavefront Control: Methods, Devices, and Applications VI
  • John D. Gonglewski; Richard A. Carreras; Troy A. Rhoadarmer
  • San Diego, California, USA | August 10, 2008

abstract

We introduce and demonstrate a compact, nonmechanical beam steering device based on liquid Crystal (LC) Polarization Gratings (PGs). Directional control of collimated light is essential for free-space optical communications, remote sensing, and related technologies. However, current beam steering methods often require moving parts, or are limited to small angle operation, offer low optical throughput, and are constrained by size and weight. We employ multiple layers of LCPGs to achieve wide-angle (> ±40°), coarse beam steering of 1550 nm light in a remarkably thin package. LCPGs can be made in switchable or polymer materials, and possess a continuous periodic birefringence profile, that renders several compelling properties (experimentally realized): ~ 100% experimental diffraction efficiency into a single order, high polarization sensitivity, and very low scattering. Light may be controlled within and between the zero- and first-diffraction orders by the handedness of the incident light and potentially by voltage applied to the PG itself. We implement a coarse steering device with several LCPGs matched with active halfwave LC variable retarders. Here, we present the preliminary experimental results and discuss the unique capability of this wide-angle steering.

© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Citation

Jihwan Kim ; Chulwoo Oh ; Michael J. Escuti ; Lance Hosting and Steve Serati
"Wide-angle nonmechanical beam steering using thin liquid crystal polarization gratings", Proc. SPIE 7093, Advanced Wavefront Control: Methods, Devices, and Applications VI, 709302 (August 28, 2008); doi:10.1117/12.795752; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.795752


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