Liquid Crystal Tunable Polarization Filter

Period of Performance: 12/16/1998 - 08/09/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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

Research Topics


Physical Optics Corporation proposes to develop a transmissive tunable polarization filter for infrared imaging. Current polarization filters are largely limited to operation at visible wavelengths, and those for infrared wavelengths are based on wiregrids and are unsuitable for real-time polarimetric imaging. The proposed tunable infrared polarization filter is based on Tunable Refractive Birefringent Optic technology, integrating a microwedge array with liquid crystal. The compact, low-voltage liquid crystal tunable polarization filter (LCTPF) to be used in this device is superior to others in that it is highly efficient and has a high extinction ratio, wide wavelength coverage, a large aperture, and a large acceptance angle. The LCTPF itself is commercially attractive because it will be producible at low cost using mature fabrication techniques and commercial materials. In Phase I, we will design and analyze the performance of the LCTPF, and demonstrate a proof-of-concept device at near infrared wavelengths. BENEFITS: This project will lead to low-cost, high performance, large aperture tunable IR polarization filter technology that can be applied to many IR imaging systems. Commercial applications include ice detection on planes, roads and bridges, geological remote sensing, pollution monitoring, nondestructive testing, and medical imaging.