Transmissive Spatial Light Modulators with High Figure-of-Merit Liquid Crystals for Foveated Imaging Applications

Jamie Harriman, Sebastian Gauza, Shin-Tson Wu, David Wick, Brett Bagwell, Ty Martinez, Don Payne, Steven Serati

Published in SPIE Proceedings Volume 6135, Liquid Crystal Materials, Devices, and Applications XI; 61350C (2006)


Unique liquid crystal (LC) spatial light modulators (SLM) are being developed for foveated imaging systems that provide wide field-of-view (FOV) coverage (±60° in azimuth and elevation) without requiring gimbals or other mechanical scanners. Recently, a transmissive-SLM-based system operating in the visible (532 nm) has been demonstrated. The LC SLM development is addressing implementation issues through the development of high figure-of-merit (FoM) LC materials and transmissive high-resolution SLMs. Transmissive SLM operation allows the foveated imaging configuration to be very compact using a very simple lens system. The reduction in the size, weight and cost of the imaging optics and in data acquisition/processing hardware makes the foveated approach attractive for small platforms such as unmanned airborne vehicles (UAVs) or missile seekers.

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