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Proceedings Paper

Refractive waveguide non-mechanical beam steering (NMBS) in the MWIR
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Paper Abstract

Beam steering is a crucial technology for a number of applications, including chemical sensing/mapping and light detection and ranging (LIDAR). Traditional beam steering approaches rely on mechanical movement, such as the realignment of mirrors in gimbal mounts. The mechanical approach to steering has several drawbacks, including large size, weight and power usage (SWAP), and frequent mechanical failures. Recently, alternative non-mechanical approaches have been proposed and developed, but these technologies do not meet the demanding requirements for many beam steering applications. Here, we highlight the development efforts into a particular non-mechanical beam steering (NMBS) approach, refractive waveguides, for application in the MWIR. These waveguides are based on an Ulrich-coupled slab waveguide with a liquid crystal (LC) top cladding; by selectively applying an electric field across the liquid crystal through a prismatic electrode, steering is achieved by creating refraction at prismatic interfaces as light propagates through the device. For applications in the MWIR, we describe a versatile waveguide architecture based on chalcogenide glasses that have a wide range of refractive indices, transmission windows, and dispersion properties. We have further developed robust shadow-masking methods to taper the subcladding layers in the coupling region. We have demonstrated devices with >10° of steering in the MWIR and a number of advantageous properties for beam steering applications, including low-power operation, compact size, and fast point-to-point steering.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 February 2018
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10539, Photonic Instrumentation Engineering V, 105390A (22 February 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2290379
Show Author Affiliations
Jason D. Myers, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Jesse A. Frantz, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Christopher M. Spillmann, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Robel Y. Bekele, Univ. Research Foundation (United States)
Jakub Kolacz, American Society for Engineering Education (United States)
Henry Gotjen, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Jawad Naciri, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Brandon Shaw, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Jas S. Sanghera, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10539:
Photonic Instrumentation Engineering V
Yakov G. Soskind, Editor(s)

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