Display Technologies Seek Uptake

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Mike WheelerThe virtual and augmented reality worlds are in a quandary. Tens of billions of dollars have been spent on developing systems that many expected to follow a similar growth trajectory as the smartphone. Although virtual reality (VR) headsets can be found in an increasing number of education and training applications, they’ve yet to catch fire among consumers to the degree industry watchers had first predicted. That’s because they don’t fit the consumer model; current headsets are bulky, expensive and constrain movement.

One key to future adoption lies in the display technologies themselves. For VR, organic LEDs (OLEDs) offer the advantages of latency, contrast ratio and response time. Augmented reality (AR), on the other hand, requires higher luminance given the need to operate in ambient conditions. Liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS), incorporated in Google Glass, is well suited for the purpose. For more on these technologies, turn to Barry Young’s “Display Technologies Shape the Immersive Experience,” (read article).

Materials that are invisible to the naked eye often behave less predictably than their macro cousins. It’s important for those involved in the design and manufacture of semiconductors, MEMS and medical diagnostics to understand the structure of nanomaterials to achieve desired performance. Don’t miss Contributing Editor Marie Freebody’s “Optical Techniques Tackle Nanoscale Measurement,” (read article).

Elsewhere in this edition:

• Polymer optics are prized for the greater freedom of design possible compared to glass optics. A good example of the miniaturized polymer optics are found in microlens arrays, used for beam homogenization in light mixing rods or honeycomb condensers for projections. Jenoptik Polymer Systems’ Olaf Kraft presents the case for the use of ultraprecision technology along with injection molding in “Fabricating Precise Polymer Optics,” (read article).

• Peter Holl and Marcel Rattunde of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics examine how a new fabrication method yields powerful — and tunable — vertical external cavity surface-emitting lasers. Their feature, “Advances in Power and Tunability for GaSb-VECSELs,” (read article).

• Laser interferometers today can deliver extreme levels of surface characterization — which is very important for high-performance optics production where accurate process feedback is required. Ametek’s Erin McDonnell’s “Pushing the Limits of Interferometric Testing” examines how Fizeau interferometers deliver precise measurements, even in less-than-ideal environments (read article).

Finally, Photonics West is right around the corner. To get an advance look at this year’s show, don’t miss Senior Editor Justine Murphy’s “Photonics West Brings Together Industry’s Best, Brightest,” (read article).

Enjoy the issue!

Published: December 2017
EditorialMike Wheeler

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