Beam Steering Using A New Class Of Fast, High-Polarization Ferroelectric Liquid

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9453-04-C-0163
Agency Tracking Number: F031-2439
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: AF03-020
Solicitation Number: 2003.1
Small Business Information
2602 Clover Basin Drive, Longmont, CO, 80503
DUNS: 151045382
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Michael O'Callaghan
 (303) 774-2272
Business Contact
 Mark Handschy
Phone: (303) 774-2213
Research Institution
It has long been known that optical phased array (OPA) beam steering can be performed by liquid crystal devices, yet available liquid crystals are either too slow for many applications (1 ms - 100's of milliseconds) or they are incapable of producing the necessary range of analog phase modulation. Developments in a new class of ferroelectric liquid crystals (FLCs) during the last couple of years have the potential to overcome these limitations, enabling OPA beam steering devices with speeds in excess of 5 kHz. During Phase I we showed the feasibility of achieving hysteresis-free analog switching of the new FLCs using the charge-controlled drive scheme that we've devised. Furthermore, we demonstrated the feasibility of the proposed charge-control VLSI drive circuit for use in future liquid-crystal-on-silicon (LCOS) OPAs. In Phase II we propose to complete development of the new FLC, to demonstrate one-dimensional beam steering, to develop a process for integrating the necessary wave plate within the LCOS structure, and to develop and test VLSI pixel-drive circuits. At the end of Phase II we aim to be ready for Phase III product engineering of an OPA fine steering mirror capable of the speed and accuracy required for free space optical communications systems.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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