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9 July 1998 Liquid crystal Fabry-Perot etalons
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Birefringent, nematic liquid crystals (LC) have been laminated between the substrates of several Fabry-Perot etalons. The application of an electric field allows the effective index of refraction of the LC to be varied. A polymer alignment layer is used to align the crystals perpendicular to the optical axis of the Fabry-Perot etalon. An oscillating electric field is used to rotate the crystal around the optical axis of the etalon, effectively changing the index of refraction. This change in index is used to tune the Fabry-Perot etalon in a manner similar to traditional pressure and mechanical tuning systems. However, the approach described here has the advantage of producing a solid-state etalon that is tunable without use of a bulky pressure system or environmentally sensitive piezo-electric stacks. Several etalons have been constructed to further develop this technology. Clear apertures greater than 2' have been achieved, and a hybrid spacer technique has been developed to allow for etalons with spacings of up to 1 cm. Fabry-Perot partial reflective coatings capable of operation from the visible (400 nm) to the near infrared NIR (2.2 micrometer) are also in use.
© (1998) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
William J. Schneller, John Noto, Robert B. Kerr, and R. A. Doe "Liquid crystal Fabry-Perot etalons", Proc. SPIE 3355, Optical Astronomical Instrumentation, (9 July 1998);

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