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Proceedings Paper

Liquid crystal Fabry-Perot etalons
Author(s): William J. Schneller; John Noto; Robert B. Kerr; R. A. Doe
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Paper Abstract

Birefringent, nematic liquid crystals (LC) have been laminated between the substrates of several Fabry-Perot etalons. The application of an electric field allows the effective index of refraction of the LC to be varied. A polymer alignment layer is used to align the crystals perpendicular to the optical axis of the Fabry-Perot etalon. An oscillating electric field is used to rotate the crystal around the optical axis of the etalon, effectively changing the index of refraction. This change in index is used to tune the Fabry-Perot etalon in a manner similar to traditional pressure and mechanical tuning systems. However, the approach described here has the advantage of producing a solid-state etalon that is tunable without use of a bulky pressure system or environmentally sensitive piezo-electric stacks. Several etalons have been constructed to further develop this technology. Clear apertures greater than 2' have been achieved, and a hybrid spacer technique has been developed to allow for etalons with spacings of up to 1 cm. Fabry-Perot partial reflective coatings capable of operation from the visible (400 nm) to the near infrared NIR (2.2 micrometer) are also in use.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 July 1998
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 3355, Optical Astronomical Instrumentation, (9 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.316807
Show Author Affiliations
William J. Schneller, Scientific Solutions Inc. (United States)
John Noto, Scientific Solutions Inc. (United States)
Robert B. Kerr, Scientific Solutions Inc. (United States)
R. A. Doe, SRI International (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3355:
Optical Astronomical Instrumentation
Sandro D'Odorico, Editor(s)

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