Fast Multi-Spectral Liquid-Crystal-on-Silicon Spatial Light Modulators (SLM)

Period of Performance: 10/15/2004 - 04/15/2005


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Displaytech, Inc.
2200 Central Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Kent State University
Office of the Comptroller
Kent, OH 44242
Institution POC


We propose the development of fast (~1 ms) spatial light modulators (SLMs) for application in near (1.8 to 2.5 micron), mid (3 to 5.5 micron) and long-wave (8 to 14 micron) infrared wavelength bands. The proposed SLMs exploit a newly discovered "sheared liquid crystal" (SLC) effect to deliver fast amplitude or phase modulation regardless of design wavelength. Our SLMs add the SLC effect to the liquid-crystal-on-silicon (LCOS) platform to deliver small, rugged, and inexpensive SLMs. The Phase I effort will provide: measurement results that establish baseline IR performance achievable with existing LC and polymer materials, (2) results of wafer-scale assembly processing of prototype SLC devices, (3) designs for CMOS implementation of digital gray scale and pixel boosters, including resolution vs. gray-depth and drive voltage tradeoffs, and (4) materials choices and performance predictions for optimized SLC SLMs.