Coherence Collapse - Speckle Reduction at the Laser Source
Laser projectors provide brilliant and reproducible colors and large depth of infinite focus on flat or curved screens without compromising color saturation and brightness. However, lasers bring the speckle problem that manifests as random variation in image intensity resulting from interference of many scattered coherent laser light waves. Phase II technical objectives are to demonstrate speckle reduction through coherence collapse in a novel display architecture and to prototype a speckle reduced optical subassembly suitable for integration inside the integrated photonics module subsystem. This new and innovative research and development effort will deliver and test a prototype to confirm that this approach can achieve system level speckle contrast to below 5% and that a viable commercialization path forward exists. Several existing or potential military applications could benefit from speckle reduction commercialization efforts. Large laser-based projectors that provide high visual acuity scenes in weapons system simulators would benefit from image quality improvements so that pilots could acquire targets at maximum detection ranges. Additionally, two potential ground force applications include using laser projectors for small unit pre-operation briefings or for Key leader Engagements and using small embedded laser projector in communications or computer systems for warfighter to access downlink streaming content. BENEFIT: The anticipated results of this proposed approach enables the Air Force Science and Technology experts within the Research Lab to confirm that a coherence collapse speckle reduction technology can be prototyped in a dynamic laser environment and made practicable for Phase III commercialization efforts. Phase II results will prove that operating the red, green and blue lasers in the state of coherence collapse is a viable technique for speckle contrast reduction below 5%. The technique proposes to reduce speckle noise without employing any moving mechanical parts and requires no additional electronics. Most importantly, this effort will prove that a practical approach towards speckle free laser projector development exists at very small additional cost.
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