Free-space Optical Communications 

The novel liquid crystal technologies provided by BNS can reduce size and power of various components used for non-mechanical beam steering, focusing, and attenuation in free-space optical communications terminals.

Bringing New Capabilities to Free-space Optical Communications through Liquid Crystal Technologies

Free-space optical (FSO) communications are increasingly utilized for high bandwidth over-the-air datalinks, especially where data security or RF bandwidth availability are a prime concern. In FSO terminals, liquid crystal polarization gratings (LCPGs) enable non-mechanical coarse pointing, acquisition, and tracking. Additionally, LCPG lenses offer a means of dynamic focus control and an opportunity to replace thick refractive optics with thin diffractive counterparts. These technologies are especially beneficial in small satellite and aerial platforms due to their low mass and inertia-free beam control. 

BNS’ high-speed liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) devices also provide benefits to FSO communications systems. Here, their high-resolution, dynamic phase control enables adaptive optics for transmitting through turbulent atmosphere and an additional means of encoding information on the carrier beam.

Janelle Shane is a Senior Research Scientist at Boulder Nonlinear Systems.

At BNS, we understand the complexities of developing new technologies. We constantly push the boundaries of our technologies so that our customers can do the same with theirs.

Dr. Janelle Shane

Senior Research Scientist

Light Control Technology

BNS specializes in two core technologies to develop devices and systems for a variety of research and industrial applications in the defense, biomedical, automotive, aerospace, and basic science fields.

Non-mechanical Beam Steering Spatial Light Modulators