High Speed Electro-Optic Shutters for Eye Protection from Lasers

Period of Performance: 09/29/1999 - 09/30/2001

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

NZ Applied Technologies Corp.
14A Gill Street
Woburn, MA 01801
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The increasingly wide use of laser technologies in both military systems and commercial applications have created an acute need for safety protective devices. To protect human eyes against a Q-switched pulsed laser, a protective device with a switch speed faster than 1 ns is necessary. However, such a device is not yet available. NZ Applied Technologies Corporation is developing a fast electro-optic light shutter technology which has the potential to meet the requirements for military laser protection applications. In the Phase 1 program, we successfully completed the proposed objectives. World-class electro-optic material and device results were achieved. We are now proposing an innovative electro-optic shutter design as well as a novel electronic controlling method for the Phase II program. In this program, we are planning on integrating the shutter and developing the electronics through impedance matching and microwave engineering to reach a shutter speed faster than 1 ns. At the end of the Phase II program, we will provide the Army a proof-of principle device that can be tested against a Q-switched laser pulse. Due to the anticipated rapid growth in the optical communication market, the technology development will also find many applications in the private sector. BENEFITS: Laser protective devices have enormous commercial applications for safety and health equipment due to the proliferation of lasers in laboratories, academia, industry and medicine. Besides laser protection, the proposed low cost, high performance E-O materials and devices will open a potentially large market for laser printers, fiber optic switches and optical interconnections.