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Proceedings Paper

Wide-angle nonmechanical beam steering using thin liquid crystal polarization gratings
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Paper Abstract

We introduce and demonstrate a compact, nonmechanical beam steering device based on liquid Crystal (LC) Polarization Gratings (PGs). Directional control of collimated light is essential for free-space optical communications, remote sensing, and related technologies. However, current beam steering methods often require moving parts, or are limited to small angle operation, offer low optical throughput, and are constrained by size and weight. We employ multiple layers of LCPGs to achieve wide-angle (> ±40°), coarse beam steering of 1550 nm light in a remarkably thin package. LCPGs can be made in switchable or polymer materials, and possess a continuous periodic birefringence profile, that renders several compelling properties (experimentally realized): ~ 100% experimental diffraction efficiency into a single order, high polarization sensitivity, and very low scattering. Light may be controlled within and between the zero- and first-diffraction orders by the handedness of the incident light and potentially by voltage applied to the PG itself. We implement a coarse steering device with several LCPGs matched with active halfwave LC variable retarders. Here, we present the preliminary experimental results and discuss the unique capability of this wide-angle steering.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 August 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7093, Advanced Wavefront Control: Methods, Devices, and Applications VI, 709302 (26 August 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.795752
Show Author Affiliations
Jihwan Kim, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)
Chulwoo Oh, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)
Michael J. Escuti, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)
Lance Hosting, Boulder Nonlinear Systems, Inc. (United States)
Steve Serati, Boulder Nonlinear Systems, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7093:
Advanced Wavefront Control: Methods, Devices, and Applications VI
John D. Gonglewski; Richard A. Carreras; Troy A. Rhoadarmer, Editor(s)

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