Photonics; BMDO/02-211A-Optical Materials

Period of Performance: 07/31/2002 - 05/01/2003

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Kent Optronics, Inc.
275 Martinel Dr. Suite W
Kent, OH 44240
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This SBIR program proposes a novel laser line discrimination technology for military applications based on a novel filter made from special liquid crystal thin films. In the "off" state, the laser line discrimination device is optically clear under zero voltage. Once electrically switched, the device exhibits narrow band reflection peaks that reject incoming laser lines at two or more predetermined wavelengths to protect eyes and/or detectors from laser damage. Other unique features of the proposed device include high contrast ratio at the reflection wavelengths, high transmittance under zero voltage, high off-peak transmittance outside the reflection peaks, fast speed, simple and compact device structure, light weight, and low cost. Although this technology is designed to suite the military applications for laser line discrimination, it can be extended to many other applications. Examples include an optical matrix switch array for telecommunication. As a second example, it can be used to create a spectrally responsive color filter whose reflection wavelength can be electrically tuned. Other applications include polarizer, spectrum dispersion element, spectrum tunable mirror, spectrum filter, beam splitter and combiner, display and photonics instrument such as spectrophotometer, lasers, and optical imaging and detection systems.