11 May 2017 Non-mechanical beam steering in the mid-wave infrared
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Abstract
The mid-wave infrared (MWIR) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is critically important for a variety of applications such as LIDAR and chemical sensing. Concerning the latter, the MWIR is often referred to as the “molecular fingerprint” region owing to the fact that many molecules display distinctive vibrational absorptions in this region, making it useful for gas detection. To date, steering MWIR radiation typically required the use of mechanical devices such as gimbals, which are bulky, slow, power-hungry, and subject to mechanical failure. We present the first non-mechanical beam steerer capable of continuous angular tuning in the MWIR. These devices, based on refractive, electro-optic waveguides, provide angular steering in two dimensions without relying on moving parts. Previous work has demonstrated non-mechanical beam steering (NMBS) in the short-wave infrared (SWIR) and near infrared (NIR) using a waveguide in which a portion of the propagating light is evanescently coupled to a liquid crystal (LC) layer in which the refractive index is voltage-tuned. We have extended this NMBS technology into the MWIR by employing chalcogenide glass waveguides and LC materials that exhibit high MWIR transparency. As a result, we have observed continuous, 2D MWIR steering for the first time with a magnitude of 2.74° in-plane and 0.3° out-of-plane.
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Jesse A. Frantz, Jason D. Myers, Robel Y. Bekele, Christopher M. Spillmann, Jawad Naciri, Jakub S. Kolacz, Henry Gotjen, Leslie B. Shaw, Jasbinder S. Sanghera, Bennett Sodergren, Ying-Ju Wang, Scott D. Rommel, Mike Anderson, Scott R. Davis, Michael Ziemkiewicz, "Non-mechanical beam steering in the mid-wave infrared", Proc. SPIE 10181, Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR II, 101810X (11 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2271898; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2271898
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