High-Speed Solid State Scanner Based on Liquid Crystal Micro-Prism Array

Period of Performance: 11/12/1998 - 11/13/2000

$746K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Optics Corp.
1845 West 205th Street Array
Torrance, CA 90501
Principal Investigator

Abstract

In Phase I, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) demonstrated the feasibility of electro-optically tunable Active Micro-Prism Array Scanner (AMPAS) technology for lightweight, compact, low-power, two-dimensional beam scanning in imaging laser radars (ladars). The device is based on three major POC innovations: 1) non-mechanical, electro-optic, tunable micro- rism arrays for high efficiency, wide spectral band, and large angle beam scanning; 2) a new variety of Mu s response ferroelectric liquid crystal (FLC) for high-speed, large- angle scanning driven by only 0-10 V; and 3) scalability to large arrays using well-developed integrated circuit processing and liquid crystal display technologies. Since the scanner is an analog device, it can have 400 x 400 field-of-regard. This monolithic scanning device will be small, light, and inexpensive, and will draw little power. In Phase II, POC will optimize the system design and component performance, and will develop a fully functional prototype. POC anticipates that the Phase II effort will produce a new rugged and field deployable solid-state scanner for next-generation ladar seekers in High Quantity Anti-Materiel Submunitions (HI-QUAMS) and other munitions. BENEFITS: This development will find many commercial applications for high-speed three-dimensional imaging. Applications's include range finders, small aperture ladar systems, laser scanned displays, laser printers, engravers, copying machines, machine vision, highway safety, and environmental monitoring.