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Liquid Crystal Polarization Gratings

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Meadowlark Optics - Liquid Crystal Polarization GratingsNon-mechanically reconfigurable optics with vastly superior size, weight, and power requirements compared to their mechanical counterparts

LCPG-based Optics for Non-mechanical Beam Scanners
Liquid crystal polarization gratings are also known as geometric phase gratings, Pancharatnam-Berry phase gratings, and diffractive waveplates. These transmissive gratings efficiently (>99.5%) diffract circularly polarized light to either the first positive or negative order, based on the handedness of the incident light. By incorporating fast electro-optic half-wave polarization retarders to control the handedness of polarization, we can develop custom LCPG devices and systems with a range of leading capabilities:
  • Wide-angle beam steering >100°
  • Large apertures >20 cm
  • Sub-millisecond switching times
  • Dramatically reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements
  • Random-access and inertialess beam steering
  • Dynamic focusing also available
LCPGs for Non-Mechanical Beam Steering and Switchable Optics
Liquid crystal polarization gratings (LCPGs) are diffractive elements that provide near-100% diffraction for circularly polarized light. When layered with thin polarization-controlling liquid crystal elements, LCPGs provide a means of non-mechanically reconfiguring light into different states, such as for beam steering or focusing.

The use of LCPGs in non-mechanical beam steering is a novel technique and Meadowlark has the patent on this approach (US 8,982,313 B2).

Industries Using LCPG Technology
Along with our customers, we have demonstrated this technology in a range of cutting-edge applications, from lidar to optical communications:
  • Aerospace: Inertialess optical beam steering with dramatic reductions of size, weight, and power
  • Automotive: Wide-angle steering of flash and coherent lidar for ADAS and autonomous vehicles
  • Manufacturing + Automation: Increase range and resolution of conventional Time-of-Flight cameras without sacrificing field of view
  • Telecommunication: Non-mechanical coarse pointing, acquisition, and tracking, as well as non-mechanical divergence control
  • Wind Power Generation: Compact non-mechanical pointing of coherent Doppler lidar wind sensing

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Productsgratingstransmissive gratingsLCPGliquid crystal polarization gratingsremote focusingtime of flight imagingdopplar lidarbeam steeringnon-mechanical divergence controlwind sensingOptics

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