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Color Ultrahigh Definition Microdisplay (CUDM)


OBJECTIVE: Color ultrahigh definition microdisplay with 8 Mpx (3840x2048) image resolution and 12-bit dynamic range (greyscale) running at 72 Hz for application in day/night pilot helmet mounted display (HMD) systems. DESCRIPTION: Current helmet-mounted display (HMD) systems can NOT provide the threshold visual acuity (e.g. Snellen 20/20) over the threshold (minimum desired) 40x32-deg field-of-view (FOV). The Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) uses a micro-cathode ray tube (uCRT) to provide see-through symbology with an image resolution of about SVGA (800x600, or 0.5 Mpx) over a 20-deg. conical field-of-view (FOV), which approaches, but is less than, 20/20 acuity. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art digital flat panel HMD systems now in development provide just SXGA (1.3Mpx) resolution over about a 40-deg. FOV, which means warfighters must come twice as close to targets to see what they would have seen if provided with a 20/20 acuity battlespace visualization system (e.g. 1 km vs. 2 km, or 100 vs. 200 m). And a 40-deg. FOV is NOT large enough (120x80-deg. is desired), but is just the minimum needed to avoid excessive head scanning to maintain situational awareness. A spatial image resolution of about 8 Mpx (3840x2048) is required to provide 20/20 acuity for each 40-deg. conical portion of the FOV, vs. 1.3 Mpx state-of-the-art for several microdisplay technologies, including emissive active matrix organic light emitting diode on silicon substrate (AMOLED), transmissive active matrix liquid crystal display on glass substrate (AMLCD), reflective active matrix liquid crystal display on silicon substrate (LCOS), and reflective and interferometric microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). And for avionics applications helmet integration volume requirements require the display to be in a 12-mm (0.5-in) diagonal form factor, which requires pixels to be reduced in size from 12-um to 4-um, which is now within the fabrication state-of-the-art. Separately, current displays support a dynamic range of just 8-bit (256 grey levels) compared to the perceived real-world'display'dynamic range of 18-bit, and to new solid-state sensors that are demonstrating dynamic range of over 12-bit. New, ultrahigh definition microdisplays are needed for HMD applications with an octave higher (4X) resolution, or 5 Mpx (threshold) to 8 Mpx (objective) (e.g. formats of 2560x2048 threshold to 3840x2048 objective) and with a dynamic range (grayscale) of at least 12-bit. The frame rates need to be increased from the 30-to-60 Hz in available miniature flat panel displays to 72 Hz (threshold) and 96 Hz (objective) for avionics applications due the motion of pilots through the sky and rapid head movements within the cockpit. Approaches to the imaging device (microdisplay) range from traditional (miniature AMLCD, AMOLED, LCOS, MEMS) to novel (hologram projectors). Approaches to the optics that relay the miniature real image from the microdisplay and magnify it to the large-FOV large-eyebox virtual image perceived by the eye may range from classical (refractive/diffractive) to novel (e.g. waveguide, holographic waveguide). Efforts that can make credible progress towards these threshold and objective goals are sought. PHASE I: Design color ultrahigh definition microdisplay system with threshold image resolution of 5 Mpx for 40x32-deg FOV. Demonstrate manufacturability of design that leverages commercial product trends in terms of pixel density: 4-um monochrome pixel pitch for manageable avionics 12-mm die image size. PHASE II: Fabricate color ultrahigh definition demonstration device and perform characterization testing for uniformity, dynamic range, and frame rate. Deliver at least three microdisplay demonstration devices that provide usable imagery for evaluation for HMD application. Develop a roadmap for ultrahigh definition microdisplays with off-ramps for specific products leveraging commercial fabrication facilities. PHASE III: Military applications include HMD systems for pilots (all aircraft), tankers, and dismounted combatants. Commercial applications include homeland security, police, and entertainment (TV games). REFERENCES: 1. Darrel G. Hopper,"The 1000X Difference Between Current Displays and Capability of Human Visual System: Payoff Potential for Affordable Defense Systems,"in Cockpit Displays VII: Displays for Defense Applications, Proc. SPIE 4022, 378-389 (2000); David G. Curry, Gary Martinsen, and Darrel G. Hopper,"Capability of the human visual system,"in Cockpit Displays X, Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 5080, 58-69 (2003). 2. Darrel G. Hopper,"Hextomegapixel Aerospace Cockpit Displays,"in Countering the Directed Energy Threat: Are Closed Cockpits the Ultimate Answer?, NATO Research and Technology Organization Proceedings 30, pages 11-1 to 11-13 (2000). 3. Darrel G. Hopper,"Examining Night Vision Capabilities Across the Air Force,"Presentation at Worldwide Business Research (WBR) Night Vision Summit and Soldier Technology USA 2008, The Premier North American Soldier Modernization Conference, in Arlington VA, 14-16 Jan (2008). 4."Kopin Awarded U.S. Military Program to Develop World"s Highest Resolution Microdisplay,"$3.1M/3-yr contract awarded December 2008 to develop a miniature active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD) with 2048x2048 monochrome pixel resolution in a 0.99-in. form factor. & p=irol-newsArticle & ID=1231990 & highlight= (accessed 1 March 2009). 5. Microdisplays based on eMagin"s active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) approach with 800x600 11.1-um color triad pixels may indicate fabrication potential enabling potential 2400x1800 4-um green pixels device with an 8x8x6.6 mm viewing area and 19.8x15.2x5.0 mm (0.44-in form factor) mechanical dimension, (accessed 1 March 2009).
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