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Optical Engineering

Radiation testing of liquid crystal optical devices for space laser communication
Author(s): Steven A. Lane; Jacob A. Brown; Megan E. Tremer; Craig Uber; Elizabeth E. Gallagher; Steven R. Collins; Michael R. Benoit; William J. Miniscalco
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Paper Abstract

Liquid crystal optical phased arrays are an enabling technology for a variety of photonic and electronic beam manipulation functions, including steering, control of polarization, and amplitude and phase modulation. For applications in the emerging field of space laser communications, such devices would need to survive in the space environment for 10 to 15 years. To assess suitability and identify potential issues, a series of experiments were conducted in which nematic liquid crystal devices were subjected to three radiation environments: total dose (gamma), prompt dose (x rays), and fast neutrons. Tests were conducted using simple phase retarder devices, which served as surrogates for beamsteering devices. Impacts to optical and electrical characteristics of the devices at 1.55 μm were measured after incremental exposure trials. Modest effects were observed, but none were deemed significant enough to impact performance of the devices for space communication beamsteering applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 November 2009
PDF: 11 pages
Opt. Eng. 48(11) 114002 doi: 10.1117/1.3265710
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 48, Issue 11
Show Author Affiliations
Steven A. Lane, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Jacob A. Brown, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Megan E. Tremer, Raytheon Co. (United States)
Craig Uber, Raytheon Co. (United States)
Elizabeth E. Gallagher, Raytheon Missile Systems (United States)
Steven R. Collins, Raytheon Co. (United States)
Michael R. Benoit, Raytheon Co. (United States)
William J. Miniscalco, Raytheon Co. (United States)

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