Novel Ultra-Compact Electro-Optic Beam Steering Device

Period of Performance: 08/15/1995 - 01/31/1997

$749K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Reveo, Inc.
6 Skyline Drive
Hawthorne, NY 10532
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Numerous military and civilian applications require a rapidly scanned, or "steered", laser beam. Conventional electro-mechanical and acousto-optic beam steering techniques are fundamentally inadequate due to their slow speeds and mechanical nature, or lack of compactness, respectively. Reveo has invented the unprecedented Electro-Optic Beam Steering Device (BSD) that eliminates the complexity, sluggishness, and large size of conventional techniques. The BSD is ultra-compact and provides switching speeds on the order of one nanosecond, limited only by material constraints. It is also highly reliable because it involves no moving parts. In Phase I, Reveo experimentally demonstrated the viability of the new BSD technology based on the selective reflection properties of cholesteric liquid crystals (CLC) and other materials. A two-element BSD was successfully demonstrated. Alternative designs were produced in an effort to minimize the technical risks of this technology. Phase II extends the technology in order to deliver a one-dimensional twenty-five element BSD which scans a linear region 10 cm in length. Phase II activities will eliminate or minimize any remaining technical risks associated with this technology, thereby paving the way for the rapid commercialization of a two-dimensional BSD in Phase III of this program. Electro-Optic beam steering is an ideal candidate for dual-use. In addition to its use in laser weapons and radars, Reveo's radically new BSD can also be used in advanced mass storage technologies, pattern recognition (e.g. fingerprint recognition and anti-counterfeit measures), holographic storage, and other advanced optical systems which require a rapidly scanning laser beam.