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12 February 2010 Liquid crystal waveguides: new devices enabled by >1000 waves of optical phase control
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Proceedings Volume 7618, Emerging Liquid Crystal Technologies V; 76180E (2010)
Event: SPIE OPTO, 2010, San Francisco, California, United States
A new electro-optic waveguide platform, which provides unprecedented voltage control over optical phase delays (> 2mm), with very low loss (< 0.5 dB/cm) and rapid response time (sub millisecond), will be presented. This technology, developed by Vescent Photonics, is based upon a unique liquid-crystal waveguide geometry, which exploits the tremendous electro-optic response of liquid crystals while circumventing their historic limitations. The waveguide geometry provides nematic relaxation speeds in the 10's of microseconds and LC scattering losses that are reduced by orders of magnitude from bulk transmissive LC optics. The exceedingly large optical phase delays accessible with this technology enable the design and construction of a new class of previously unrealizable photonic devices. Examples include: 2-D analog non-mechanical beamsteerers, chip-scale widely tunable lasers, chip-scale Fourier transform spectrometer (< 5 nm resolution demonstrated), widely tunable micro-ring resonators, tunable lenses, ultra-low power (< 5 microWatts) optical switches, true optical time delay devices for phased array antennas, and many more. All of these devices may benefit from established manufacturing technologies and ultimately may be as inexpensive as a calculator display. Furthermore, this new integrated photonic architecture has applications in a wide array of commercial and defense markets including: remote sensing, micro-LADAR, OCT, FSO, laser illumination, phased array radar, etc. Performance attributes of several example devices and application data will be presented. In particular, we will present a non-mechanical beamsteerer that steers light in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions.
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Scott R. Davis, George Farca, Scott D. Rommel, Seth Johnson, and Michael H. Anderson "Liquid crystal waveguides: new devices enabled by >1000 waves of optical phase control", Proc. SPIE 7618, Emerging Liquid Crystal Technologies V, 76180E (12 February 2010);

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