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Proceedings Paper

A second-generation liquid crystal phase-shifting point-diffraction interferometer employing structured substrates
Author(s): Kenneth L. Marshall; Kathleen Adlesberger; Benjamin Kolodzie; Graham Myhre; DeVon W. Griffin
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Paper Abstract

By design, point-diffraction interferometers are much less sensitive to environmental disturbances than dual-path interferometers, but, until very recently, have not been capable of phase shifting. The liquid crystal point-diffraction interferometer (LCPDI) utilizes a dye-doped, liquid crystal (LC) electro-optical device that functions as both the point-diffraction source and the phase-shifting element, yielding a phase-shifting diagnostic device that is significantly more compact and robust while using fewer optical elements than conventional dual-path interferometers. These attributes make the LCPDI of special interest for diagnostic applications in the scientific, commercial, military, and industrial sectors, where vibration insensitivity, power requirements, size, weight, and cost are critical issues. Until very recently, LCPDI devices have used a plastic microsphere embedded in the LC fluid layer as the point-diffraction source. The process for fabricating microsphere-based LCPDI devices is low-yield, labor-intensive, and very "hands-on"; great care and skill are required to produce devices with adequate interference fringe contrast for diagnostic measurements. With the goal of evolving the LCPDI beyond the level of a laboratory prototype in mind, we have developed "second-generation" LCPDI devices in which the reference-diffracting elements are an integral part of the substrates by depositing a suitable optical material (vapor-deposited thin films or photoresist) directly onto the substrate surface. These "structured" substrates eliminate many of the assembly difficulties and performance limitations of current LCPDI devices as well as open the possibility of mass-producing LCPDI devices at low cost by the same processes used to manufacture commercial LC displays.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 August 2005
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5880, Optical Diagnostics, 58800D (18 August 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.617631
Show Author Affiliations
Kenneth L. Marshall, University of Rochester (United States)
Kathleen Adlesberger, University of Rochester (United States)
Benjamin Kolodzie, University of Rochester (United States)
Graham Myhre, University of Rochester (United States)
DeVon W. Griffin, NASA Glenn Research Center (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5880:
Optical Diagnostics
Leonard M. Hanssen; Patrick V. Farrell, Editor(s)

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