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Proceedings Paper

Thermo-optic variable blazed grating for beam steering
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Paper Abstract

The ability to perform non-mechanical optical beam steering is of critical importance in laser communication and remote sensing; it is as vital as a phased-array antenna is for RADAR. This challenge has been addressed in the past primarily by liquid crystal (LC) devices. To date, a peak optical steering angle of ±4.53 degrees has been achieved, but it is limited by the fringing field effect. This limiting effect has been circumvented by depositing a thermo-optic material, polydimethlyoxane (PDMS), on a stair-step-approximated, blazed grating. The phase gradient can be controlled, while the material's index of refraction remains homogeneous throughout. The design, fabrication, simulation and performance of such a prototype, reflection-mode device is analyzed. Angular control between orders separated by 0.75 and 1.2° is experimentally demonstrated. An analysis of the efficiency and response time (2.2 μs) of the device is also presented. This approach promises circumvention of the fringing field effect, as well as much simpler and less-expensive fabrication.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 September 2007
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 6715, Optomechatronic Actuators and Manipulation III, 671505 (5 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.754188
Show Author Affiliations
Matthew T. Johnson, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
Guna S. Seetharaman, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6715:
Optomechatronic Actuators and Manipulation III
Yves Bellouard; Yukitoshi Otani; Kee S. Moon, Editor(s)

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