Boulder Nonlinear Systems Positioned as Leader in Non-Mechanical Beam Steering with Recent Approval of Patent Claims
LAFAYETTE, Colorado | April 15, 2015
Boulder Nonlinear Systems (BNS) is pleased to announce that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued US Patent No. 8,982,313 titled, “Beam steering devices including stacked liquid crystal polarization gratings and related methods of operation,” which is related to the use of multi-stage Liquid Crystal Polarization Gratings (LCPGs) for non-mechanical beam steering. LCPGs are thin transmissive optical elements that provide polarization-sensitive diffractive beam steering. By controlling the polarization state of light as it progresses through a stack of LCPG elements, light can be efficiently (up to >99%) steered through a wide array of discrete angles. This non-mechanical approach enables fast random-access beam steering while greatly reducing the size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements in comparison to traditional optical steering systems, such as gimbals and scanning mirrors. The patent, which was jointly invented by Prof. Michael Escuti and colleagues at North Carolina State University and BNS CTO Steve Serati, was licensed by BNS from North Carolina State University in 2011 giving BNS exclusive rights in all fields. The patent compliments BNS’s license of patent US 7,196,758 B2 concerning the fabrication of the LCPGs.
The low SWaP requirements and potential for integration into aerodynamic form factors make LCPGs attractive for many high-performance applications. BNS is already putting this technology into practice in a number of different areas, including laser radar, passive imaging in both the visible and infrared bands, headlight steering, and wind sensing. To support these efforts, BNS recently announced the development of a pilot production line for supplying large-aperture LCPG beam steering systems in 2015.
For a first-hand look at this technology, BNS will be demonstrating an LCPG-based imaging system at the upcoming SPIE DSS Exhibition in Baltimore, MD at Booth 542 during April 21-23, 2015.