Wide Field-of-View Imaging System using a Liquid Crystal Spatial Light Modulator

G. Curatu, D. Wick, D. Payne, T. Martinez, J. Harriman, J. Harvey

Published in SPIE Proceedings Volume 5874, Current Developments in Lens Design and Optical Engineering VI; 587408 (2005) https://doi.org/10.1117/12.619257


This paper presents the optical design and experimental demonstration of a compact, foveated, wide field-of-view (FOV) imaging system using two lenses and a liquid crystal spatial light modulator (SLM). The FOV of this simple doublet system is dramatically improved by the SLM, which can be programmed to correct all the geometrical aberrations at any particular field angle. The SLM creates a variation in the image quality across the entire FOV, with a diffraction-limited performance at the field angle of interest (similar to the foveated human vision). The region of interest can be changed dynamically, such that any area within the FOV of the system can be highly resolved within milliseconds. The wide FOV, compactness, and absence of moving parts make this system a good candidate for tracking and surveillance applications. We designed an f/7.7 system, with a 60° full FOV, and a 27 mm effective focal length. Only two lenses and a beam splitter cube were used along with a reflective SLM. The theoretical wavefront aberration coefficients were used to program the SLM, which was placed in the pupil plane of the system. A prototype was built and the system was experimentally demonstrated using monochromatic light and a CCD camera.

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