A Novel Spatially Self-Controlled Optical Attenuator of High Transparence and High Extinction
ABSTRACT: Agiltron, a leading commercial electro-optic component manufacturer, proposes to develop a simpler, lower-cost spatial controllable attenuator having all the required performance attributes for suppressing a bright source in the Field of View (FOV) so that the dynamic range of the sensor could be devoted to the lower intensity radiation from the scene. Our novel pixilated variable transmittance attenuator has a wide transmission range of 90% to blocking, continuously variable, sub-ms fast response, excellent spectral neutrality, fail clear, polarization independence, and consumes little power. The inorganic device is robust, lightweight, and thin, well suited for space application. The electrostatic attenuator device also does not have secondary reflections such as irising and scattering. The new device requires simple driving electronics that are self controlled. Agiltron novel spatially self-controlled attenuator potentially enables sensors to function even under direct sun blinding as well as provides them protection againsthazards such as laser and nuclear blast blinding. The feasibility of the proposed approach will be demonstrated in Phase I. BENEFIT: Success in the Phase I effort will identify a viable manufacturing route for a novel variable transmittance flexible attenuator device. These devices have a wide range of"dual use"applications, from military aircrew personnel and sensor protection applications to commercial applications of laser safety and protection such as welders mask, sun attenuators, space suit helmet attenuators, race helmets, welding, eyewear, windows, automobile/aircraft/spacecraft windows, non-emissive displays etc.
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