24 June 2014 Fast, electrically tunable filters for hyperspectral imaging
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Abstract
Tunable, narrow-wavelength spectral filters with a ms response in the mid-wave/long-wave infrared (MW/LWIR) are an enabling technology for hyperspectral imaging systems. Few commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components for this application exist, including filter wheels, movable gratings, and Fabry-Perot (FP) etalon-based devices. These devices can be bulky, fragile and often do not have the required response speed. Here, we present a fundamentally different approach for tunable reflective IR filters, based on coupling subwavelength plasmonic antenna arrays with liquid crystals (LCs). Our device operates in reflective mode and derives its narrow bandwidth from diffractive coupling of individual antenna elements. The wavelength tunability of the device arises from electrically-induced re-orientation of the LC material in intimate contact with antenna array. This re-orientation, in turn, induces a change in the local dielectric environment of the antenna array, leading to a wavelength shift. We will first present results of full-field optimization of micron-size antenna geometries to account for complex 3D LC anisotropy. We have fabricated these antenna arrays on IR-transparent CaF2 substrates utilizing electron beam lithography, and have demonstrated tunability using 5CB, a commercially available LC. However, the design can be extended to high-birefringence liquid crystals for an increased tuning range. Our initial results demonstrate <60% peak reflectance in the 4- 6 μm wavelength range with a tunability of 0.2 μm with re-orientation of the surface alignment layers. Preliminary electrical switching has been demonstrated and is being optimized.
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V. Liberman, L. Parameswaran, C. Gear, A. Cabral, M. Rothschild, "Fast, electrically tunable filters for hyperspectral imaging", Proc. SPIE 9070, Infrared Technology and Applications XL, 90702B (24 June 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057511; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2057511
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