Abstract

Design and demonstration of a versatile liquid crystal-based scanner is shown for steering a laser beam in three dimensions. The scanner consists of a unique combination of digital and analog control polarization-based beamforming optics resulting in both continuous and random fashion beam steering. The design features a novel device biasing method, large aperture beamforming optics, low electrical power consumption, and ultra-fine as well as wide angle coarse beam steering. Demonstrations include one, two and three dimensional beam steering with a maximum of 40.92° continuous scan, all at 1550 nm. The minimum scanner aperture is 1 cm diameter and uses a combination of ferroelectric and nematic liquid crystals in addition to Rutile crystal birefringent prisms.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. A. F. Fray and D. Jones, "Liquid crystal light deflector," U.S. Patent 4066334, (1978).
  2. B. Lofving and S. Hard, "Beam steering with two ferroelectric liquid-crystal spatial light modulators," Opt. Lett. 23, 19, 1541-1543, (1998).
    [CrossRef]
  3. M. H. Kiang, O. Solgaard, K. Y. Lau and R. S. Muller, "Electrostatic combdrive-actuated micromirrors for laser-beam scanning and positioning," Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems 7, 1, 27-37, (1998).
    [CrossRef]
  4. R. A. Meyer, "Optical beam steering using a multichannel lithium tantalate crystal," Appl. Opt. 11, 3, 613-616, (1972).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. Q. W. Song, X. M. Wang, R. Bussjager and J. Osman, "Electro-optic beam-steering device based on a lanthanum-modified lead zirconate titanate ceramic wafer," Appl. Opt. 35, 17, 3155-3162, (1996).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. H. Meyer, D. Riekmann, K.P. Schmidt, U. J. Schmidt, M. Rahlff, E. Schroder and W. Thust, "Design and performance of a 20-stage digital light beam deflector," Appl. Opt. 11, 8, 1732-1736, (1972).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. R. McRuer, L. R. McAdams and J. W. Goodman, "Ferroelectric liquid-crystal digital scanner," Opt. Lett., 15, 23, 1415-1417, (1990).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. C. M. Titus, P. J. Bos and O. D. Lavrentovich, "Efficient, accurate liquid crystal digital light deflector," Proc. SPIE, 3633, 244, (1999).
    [CrossRef]
  9. N. A. Riza and S. A. Khan, "Programmable High Speed Polarization Multiplexed Optical Scanner," Opt. Lett. 28, 7, 561-563, (2003).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. N. A. Riza, "Digital control polarization based optical scanner," US Patent 6031658, (2000).
  11. W. Klaus, "Development of LC optics for free-space laser communications," International Jounal of Electronic Communications 56, 4, 243-253, (2002).
    [CrossRef]
  12. J. B. Hawthorn, A. Harwit, and M. Harwit, "Laser telemetry from space," Science, 297, July 26, (2002).
  13. B. W. Matkin, "Steered agile beams program support for Army requirements," Proc. SPIE, 4489, 1-12, Free-Space Laser Communication and Laser Imaging; David G. Voelz, Jennifer C. Ricklin; Eds, 46th Annual Meeting of SPIE, 29 July - 3 August (2001).
  14. P. Yeh and C. Gu, Optics of Liquid Crystal Displays, (John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York, 1999).
  15. FLC Liquid Crystal Light Valves User Manual, Displaytech Inc., Longmont, CO, USA, (1996).
  16. M. Yu. Loktev, V. N. Belopukhov, F. L. Vladimirov, G. V. Vdovin, G. D. Love and A. F. Naumov, "Wave front control systems based on modal liquid crystal lenses," Review of Scientific Instruments 71, Issue 9, 3290-3297, September (2000).
    [CrossRef]
  17. S. Gauza, H. Wang, C. H. Wen, S. T. Wu, A. Seed, and R. Dabrowski, "High Birefringence Isothiocyanato Tolane Liquid Crystals," Japanese Journal of Applied Physics Part I, 42, 3463-3466, (2003).
    [CrossRef]
  18. N. A. Riza and M. C. DeJule, "Three-terminal adaptive nematic liquid-crystal lens device," Opt. Lett. 19, Issue 14, 1013-1015, (1994).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Appl. Opt.

R. A. Meyer, "Optical beam steering using a multichannel lithium tantalate crystal," Appl. Opt. 11, 3, 613-616, (1972).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Q. W. Song, X. M. Wang, R. Bussjager and J. Osman, "Electro-optic beam-steering device based on a lanthanum-modified lead zirconate titanate ceramic wafer," Appl. Opt. 35, 17, 3155-3162, (1996).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

H. Meyer, D. Riekmann, K.P. Schmidt, U. J. Schmidt, M. Rahlff, E. Schroder and W. Thust, "Design and performance of a 20-stage digital light beam deflector," Appl. Opt. 11, 8, 1732-1736, (1972).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

International Jounal of Electronic Comm.

W. Klaus, "Development of LC optics for free-space laser communications," International Jounal of Electronic Communications 56, 4, 243-253, (2002).
[CrossRef]

Japanese Jnl of Applied Physics Part I

S. Gauza, H. Wang, C. H. Wen, S. T. Wu, A. Seed, and R. Dabrowski, "High Birefringence Isothiocyanato Tolane Liquid Crystals," Japanese Journal of Applied Physics Part I, 42, 3463-3466, (2003).
[CrossRef]

Jnl of Microelectromechanical Systems

M. H. Kiang, O. Solgaard, K. Y. Lau and R. S. Muller, "Electrostatic combdrive-actuated micromirrors for laser-beam scanning and positioning," Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems 7, 1, 27-37, (1998).
[CrossRef]

Opt. Lett.

N. A. Riza and M. C. DeJule, "Three-terminal adaptive nematic liquid-crystal lens device," Opt. Lett. 19, Issue 14, 1013-1015, (1994).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

R. McRuer, L. R. McAdams and J. W. Goodman, "Ferroelectric liquid-crystal digital scanner," Opt. Lett., 15, 23, 1415-1417, (1990).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

B. Lofving and S. Hard, "Beam steering with two ferroelectric liquid-crystal spatial light modulators," Opt. Lett. 23, 19, 1541-1543, (1998).
[CrossRef]

N. A. Riza and S. A. Khan, "Programmable High Speed Polarization Multiplexed Optical Scanner," Opt. Lett. 28, 7, 561-563, (2003).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Proc. SPIE

C. M. Titus, P. J. Bos and O. D. Lavrentovich, "Efficient, accurate liquid crystal digital light deflector," Proc. SPIE, 3633, 244, (1999).
[CrossRef]

B. W. Matkin, "Steered agile beams program support for Army requirements," Proc. SPIE, 4489, 1-12, Free-Space Laser Communication and Laser Imaging; David G. Voelz, Jennifer C. Ricklin; Eds, 46th Annual Meeting of SPIE, 29 July - 3 August (2001).

Review of Scientific Instruments

M. Yu. Loktev, V. N. Belopukhov, F. L. Vladimirov, G. V. Vdovin, G. D. Love and A. F. Naumov, "Wave front control systems based on modal liquid crystal lenses," Review of Scientific Instruments 71, Issue 9, 3290-3297, September (2000).
[CrossRef]

Science

J. B. Hawthorn, A. Harwit, and M. Harwit, "Laser telemetry from space," Science, 297, July 26, (2002).

Other

P. Yeh and C. Gu, Optics of Liquid Crystal Displays, (John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York, 1999).

FLC Liquid Crystal Light Valves User Manual, Displaytech Inc., Longmont, CO, USA, (1996).

N. A. Riza, "Digital control polarization based optical scanner," US Patent 6031658, (2000).

A. F. Fray and D. Jones, "Liquid crystal light deflector," U.S. Patent 4066334, (1978).

Supplementary Material (3)

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Figures (11)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Design of the proposed hybrid analog-digital coarse-fine scan P-MOS module for continuous 1-D scanning. PS: 90° Polarization Switch, W: Passive Crystal Prism; WNLC; Nematic Liquid Crystal Electrically Programmable Prism set for a given drive voltage. Shown are four possible 1-D scan beams produced by digital only switching of the PSs.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Top views of the NLC prism used for continuous scan in P-MOS. NLC molecule orientations are shown for (a) zero control signal applied, (b) when a control signal is present that reorients the NLC molecules to induce a spatial prism-like refractive index change and (c) the interferogram of the NLC prism using a 1550 nm source. p: horizontally polarized light component.

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

(1,921 KB) Experimentally obtained far-field spot pattern for a basic 2-stage 1-D coarse-fine P-MOS demonstration at 1550 nm.

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

(a). Proposed Biasing Technique for the NLC prism. Fig. 4(bd): The effective NLC cell shape and beam deflections for a two stage P-MOS where one NLC prism and one birefringent crystal prism have been used as shown in Fig. 1. Shown are NLC device states when (b): drive signal is OFF, (c): switch is set to state A (i.e., when VA>VB), and (d): switch is in state B (i.e., when VB>VA). Dark spots along the Y-axis represent the far-field spots as produced by the shown NLC device state while the white spots represent the total scan spots possible including those from the alternative NLC device states.

Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

(1,750 KB) Experimentally obtained far-field spot pattern for 4-stage 1-D coarse digital P-MOS demonstration at 1550nm. α 1=-9.95°, α 2=19.95°, α 3=4.95° and α 4=9.95° using Rutile prisms (ne=2.454, no=2.71 @ λ=1550nm). α: apex angle of prism.

Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.

Simulated steering angles for a 4-stage coarse and one stage fine 1-D digital P-MOS at 1550 nm that can continuously access any spot within a 40.92° wide scan domain. αLC=±0.35°, α1=-9.95°, α2=19.95°, α3=4.95° and α4=9.95° using Rutile prisms (ne=2.454, no=2.71 @ λ=1550 nm).

Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.

(1,651 KB) Demonstration of continuous steering using NLC prism in the 4-stage coarse 1-D P-MOS scanner of Fig. 5. αNLC=±0.35° (NLC: Merck BL006, Δn=0.229 at 1550 nm and 25°C).

Fig. 8.
Fig. 8.

Experimentally measured scanner optical throughput variation for the 4-stage 1-D coarse digital P-MOS demonstration at 1550 nm.

Fig. 9.
Fig. 9.

(5,064 KB) Experimentally obtained 2-D far-field spot pattern for 2-stage coarse and 2-stage fine P-MOS demonstration at 1550 nm.

Fig. 10.
Fig. 10.

(1,405 KB) Experimentally obtained 3-D spot pattern for 2-stage coarse and 3-stage fine P-MOS demonstration at 1550 nm.

Fig. 11.
Fig. 11.

Experimentally measured rise time for the FLC PS used in P-MOS demonstration at 1550 nm.

Equations (20)

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Γ = 2 π Δ n . d λ
d = ( λ . Δ n ) 2
ϕ ( V , f , x ) = [ 2 π λ ] n ( V , f , x ) . d
ϕ ( V , f , x = 0 ) = ϕ o = [ 2 π λ ] n ( V , f , 0 ) . d ,
ϕ ( V , f , x = D ) = ϕ D = [ 2 π λ ] n ( V , f , D ) . d .
Δ ϕ A = ϕ D ϕ o ,
Δ ϕ A = ( 2 π λ ) [ n e n ( V , f , 0 ) ] d .
( 2 π D λ ) sin θ w 1 = Δ ϕ A ,
( 2 π D λ ) sin θ w 1 = ( 2 π λ ) [ n e n ( V , f ) ] . d
θ w 1 ( V , f ) = sin 1 { d D [ n e n ( V , f ) ] } ,
Δ ϕ B = ϕ D ϕ o ,
Δ ϕ B = ( 2 π λ ) [ n ( V , f , D ) n e ] . d
Δ ϕ B = Δ ϕ A
F = D 2 8 d ( Δ n c Δ n p ) ,
n inc sin θ inc = n o sin θ o = n e sin θ e ,
θ exit [ o ] = sin 1 [ n o sin ( θ o + α ) n inc ] ( α + θ inc )
θ exit [ e ] = sin 1 [ n e sin ( θ e + α ) n inc ] ( α + θ inc ) ,
θ exit [ o ] = sin 1 [ n o sin ( α ) ] α
θ exit [ e ] = sin 1 [ n e sin ( α ) ] α
Δ θ = θ exit [ e ] θ exit [ o ] .

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