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Proceedings Paper

Demonstration of large-angle nonmechanical laser beam steering based on LC polymer polarization gratings
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Paper Abstract

Polarization gratings (PGs) as polarization sensitive diffractive optical elements work in broadband (UV to Mid- IR) with nearly 100% diffraction efficiency. We have introduced and utilized the PGs in different types of beam steering modules presented in our previous papers. Here, we describe and demonstrate a nonmechanical beam steering device based on passive gratings, liquid crystal (LC) polymer PGs. The device covers a large-angle Field-Of-Regard (FOR) with high efficiency, and is based on a stack of alternating LC half-wave plates and LC polymer PGs. The half-wave plates are switchable and are used to select the handedness of the circularly polarized input beam. The polymer PGs diffract the input beam to either of the first diffraction orders based on the circular handedness of the beam previously selected. When compared with conventional beam steering methods based on active gratings (ternary and quasi-ternary designs), this technique is experimentally able to steer an equivalent number of angles with similar efficiency, but fewer LC cells, and hence, fewer transparent electrodes and lower absorption. We successfully demonstrate the ability to steer 80° FOR with roughly 2.6° resolution at 1064 nm wavelength.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2011
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8052, Acquisition, Tracking, Pointing, and Laser Systems Technologies XXV, 80520T (13 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.886508
Show Author Affiliations
Jihwan Kim, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)
Matthew N. Miskiewicz, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)
Steve Serati, Boulder Nonlinear Systems (United States)
Michael J. Escuti, North Carolina State Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8052:
Acquisition, Tracking, Pointing, and Laser Systems Technologies XXV
William E. Thompson; Paul F. McManamon, Editor(s)

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