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Proceedings Paper

A MEMS and agile optics-based dual-mode variable optical power splitter with no moving parts
Author(s): Tariq S. Khwaja; Hamid Suleman; Syed Azer Reza
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Paper Abstract

In this paper, we present a novel design of an optical power splitter. Owing to the inherent variable power split ratios that the proposed design delivers, it is ideal for use in communications, sensing and signal processing applications where variable power splitting is often quintessential. The proposed power splitter module is dual mode as it combines the use of a Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) based Digital Micro-mirror Device (DMD) and an Electronically Controlled Tunable Lens (ECTL) to split the power of an input optical signal between two output ports – the designated port and the surplus port. The use of a reflective Digital Spatial Light Modulator (DSLM) such as the DMD provides a motion-free digital control of the split ratio between the two output ports. Although the digital step between two possible successive split ratios can be fairly minimal with the use of a high resolution DMD but it is a challenge to correctly ascertain the exact image pattern on the DMD to obtain any desired specific split ratio. To counter this challenge, we propose the synchronized use of a circular pattern on the DMD, which serves as a circular clear aperture with a tunable radius, and an ECTL. The radius of the circular pattern on the DMD provides a digital control of the split ratio between the two ports whereas the ECTL, depending on its controller, can provide either an analog or a digital control by altering the beam radius which is incident at the DMD circular pattern. The radius of the circular pattern on the DMD can be minimally changed by one micro-pixel thickness. Setting the radius of the circular pattern on the DMD to an appropriate value provides the closest “ball-park” split ratio whereas further tuning the ECTL aids in slightly altering from this digitally set value to obtain the exact desired split ratio in-between any two digitally-set successive split ratios that correspond to any clear aperture radius of the DMD pattern and its incremental minimal allowable change of one micropixel. We provide a detailed scheme to calculate the desired DMD aperture radius as well as the focal length setting of the ECTL to obtain any given split ratio. By setting tolerance limits on the split ratio, we also show that our method affords diversity by providing multiple possible solutions to achieve a desired optical power split ratio within the specified tolerances. We also demonstrate the validation of the proposed concept with initial experimental results and discussions. These experimental results show a repeatable splitter operation and the resulting power split ratios according to the theoretical predictions. With the experimental data, we also demonstrate the effectiveness of the method in obtaining any particular split ratio through different DMD and ECTL configurations with specific split ratio tolerance values.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 June 2017
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 10335, Digital Optical Technologies 2017, 103351X (26 June 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2270118
Show Author Affiliations
Tariq S. Khwaja, Lahore Univ. of Management Sciences (Pakistan)
Hamid Suleman, Lahore Univ. of Management Sciences (Pakistan)
Syed Azer Reza, Lahore Univ. of Management Sciences (Pakistan)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10335:
Digital Optical Technologies 2017
Bernard C. Kress; Peter Schelkens, Editor(s)

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