Spatial Light Modulators

Dr. Kallol Bhattacharya, University of Calcutta

What is a spatial light modulator?
A device that intercepts an incident light beam to introduce a controlled magnitude of transmittance or phase (often through polarization modulation) in the emergent beam. The transmittance and/or phase introduced may be uniform over space or space varying, and time varying.

What does a spatial light modulator do? Spatially uniform but temporally varying amplitude transmittance Both Spatially and temporally varying amplitude transmittance (blinking) Spatially varying phase (lensing effects, etc) Spatio-temporally varying phase Temporally varying phase (Laser scanner)

Spatial Light Modulators

Temporal

Spatial

Mechanical

Magneto-Optic

Electro-Optic

Acousto-Optic

Silver Halide etc.

Photoresists

Liquid Crystal

Amplitude

Phase

positive

negative

Electrically addressed Amplitude Phase

Optically addressed

Magneto-Optic Modulators Faraday Effect (Michael Faraday – 1845) – The plane of polarization of linearly polarized light incident on a piece of glass rotates when subjected to a strong magnetic field applied in the direction of light propagation.

θ

Verdet constants for some selected substances in min.of arc gauss-1 cm-1: Flint glass – 0.0317 (180C)

d

Water Quartz

- 0.0131 (200C) - 0.0166 (200C)

θ = VBd

Other effects: Voigt Effect (in vapours); Cotton-Mouton Effect ( in liquids)

Electro-Optic Modulators – Kerr Effect
Kerr Effect – (John Kerr 1824-1907) – An isotropic transparent substance becomes birefringent when placed in an electric field. The medium then resembles a uniaxial crystal whose optic axis corresponds to the direction of the applied field. The electric field induced birefringence is given by Δn = λ0KE2
OA

Substance

K(x 10-5 in statvolt -2)

Water Nitrotoluene
Nitrobenzene*

4.7 123 220

Carbon Disulphide 3.2

Chloroform

-3.5

* Poisonous & esplosive

Half wave voltage for a phase modulator is defined as the voltage at which a phase retardation of π is introduced. At this voltage the cell acts as a half-wave plate. Retardation Δφ = (2π/λ). Δn = 2 π K l V2 / d2 For a nitrobenzene cell of dimensions 1cm x 1cm, V1/2 ~30 KV Applications: Shutters in high speed photography – frequency response 1010 Hz As light beam choppers – replacement for mechanical choppersutilized in the measurement of speed of light As Q-switches in pulsed laser systems Major Disadvantage: High voltage requirement and nonlinear response.

Electro-optic Modulators - Pockels Effect
Pockels Effect (Friedrich Carl Alwin Pockels 1865-1913 ): In certain crystals lacking inversion symmetry the induced birefringence is proportional to the first power of the Electric field E, (and hence V) . x/

fast axis

slow axis

x y/ y

Polarizer

Vz

QWP

Polarizer

n n

x

 n  n

o

y

o

1 3 n o r 63 E 2 1 3  n o r 63 E 2

z

z

Field off

y

y

x

x

z

Field on
Vz

y

t
y x

z

The phase difference between the two components after traversing a length L of the crystal is φ = (2π / λ )(nx’~ny’) l i.e., φ = π/2 + ωn03r63Vz / c = π/2 + πVz / Vλ/2 QWP = π/2 + φ/ The intensity of the output beam is ½(e iφ -1)2 = sin2 (φ/2) T
1

0.5

bias
0 π/2 π

Observe that for Vz=0, φ/=0 but φ = π/2 and the transmittance T =0.5. This is brought about through the φ/ use of the suitably oriented QWP.

Pockels Phase modulator

x/ y/

x y l
Polarizer Vz

n n

x

 n  n

o

y 

o

1 n 2 1  n 2

3 o 3 o

r 63 E r 63 E

z

z

Electro-optic Deflector using Pockels Effect
At time T after incidence on the crystal face, a ray incident at x=0 traverse time for length l, t1=ln/c a ray incident at x=d
,, ,,

nx= n0 + (Δn / d) . x At x = 0, nx=0= n0 At x = D, nx=d = n0+ Δn

t2 = l (n0+ Δn)/c

x

The difference in transit times to traverse the same length deflects the wavefront.

d

l

θ

l Δn

The difference in transit time = l Δn /c Angle of deflection = l Δn /D

Implementation using KDP x/ x/ z

z

When the Hypotenuse faces joined together, we have a linear variation of OPD y/ along the vertical direction

y/
h hig V z= V z=low

n n

x

 n  n

o

y 

o

1 n 2 1  n 2

3 o 3 o

r 63 E r 63 E

z

Vz=0
z

vz

Acousto-Optic Modulators

Crystal Absorber

 The RF voltage source, through the incontact PZT launches a compressional wave into the acoustic medium To RF source

Piezoelectric transducer

 The RF voltage source, through the in-contact PZT
into the acoustic medium

launches a compressional wave

 The compressional wave propagates through the medium through local displacement of molecules (strain) – causing thereby local changes in the refractive index  For a sinosoidal RF signal, a moving sinosoidal phase grating generates along the length of the crystal. The perod of the grating is velocity of acoustic wave / RF freq.  The phase grating interacts with the incident optical wavefront to produce various diffracted orders  With a liquid AO medium, the RF frequencies are ~ few 10s MHz, and on incidence of light the moving grating generates several optical frequencies due to doppler shifts. This is called the Raman-Nath regime of operation, The guiding equation being d sin θn =n λ

Crystal

d

Absorber Piezo-electric transducer To RF source

AOM in Raman-Nath mode

Crystal 2θB Absorber Piezoelectric transducer

To RF source

AOM in Bragg mode When the AO medium is a crystal, the AOM works in the Bragg regime A light beam is symmetrically deflected at the Bragg angle θ satisfying the condition 2d sin θ = nλ As d can be varied by varing the RF freqency (typically 100s of MHz to Giga Hz range) diffraction angle changes More light can be pumped in one of the +1 or -1 orders by tilting the crystal

Silver Halide materials:
Density = log10 1/t

Equation of the working region : γ = (D+D0)/log E i.e., D= γlogE –D0 Putting D=log(1/t) and E = I.t ,
Working region (Slope tan θ = γ)
γ ¯ γ

t=

10Do

I

= const. x I ¯

D

θ
D0 Log E Log E

Even if γ =1 a linear relation between transmittance of the negative film and the recorded intensity cannot be achieved!

However, if the developed transparency is recorded on a second negative film and developed to yield a slope γ/ then, following the same logic,

t’= const. x I γ γ’

A linear relation between I and t’ is now possible

Use of a liquid gate:  The surface of a processed photographic film has relief structures.  When used as an amplitude transmitting object in coherent optical systems, the surface irregularities introduces unwanted phase. In such cases a liquid gate is used .
Liquid cell Index matching fluid Transparency

Silver halide films may be bleached to give phase transparencies with both surface relief and refractive index variations contributing to the phase.

Spatial Light Modulators

Temporal

Spatio-temporal

Mechanical

Magneto-Optic

Electro-Optic

Acousto-Optic

Silver Halide etc.

Photoresists

Liquid Crystal

Amplitude

Phase

positive

negative

Optically addressed

Electrically addressed Phase

Amplitude

Liquid Crystals
An academic curiosity until the 1960s !

 First recognized by Reinitzer (1888) as the fourth state of matter
 Display applications were suggested as early as 1930s but had to wait for availability of materials exhibiting LC phase at normal temperatures – without heaters the LC phases crystallized.

Solid Phase - 3D Order

Smectic LC phase Layered structure 2D Order

Nematic LC phase 1D Order

Liquid Phase - No Order

All LC displays are made from LC phases formed from elongated or rod shaped polar molecules
E

In presence of an electric field a dipole moment develops and tends to rotate the molecule in the direction of the applied field

What makes a LC click as an SLM ? The elongated structure of its molecules renders light polarization properties. The ability to change its orientation under the influence an electric field lends flexibility.  LC are optically anisotropic, exhibit birefringence and behave as an uniaxial crystal  Most liquid crystals have larger refractive index (ne) for polarizations along the direction of their long axis and a lower refractive index (no) for all direction normal to it.  The difference of refractive indices (ne-no) is often 0.2 or more
Slow axis

Fast axis

The LC (uniaxial) indicatrix OA ne
The indicatrix is a 3D geometric figure showing the variation of refractive indices of a crystal for monochromatic light waves in their direction of vibration Each radius vector represents a vibration direction whose length measures the index of refraction of the crystal for waves vibrating parallel to the direction.

no

no

 For most liquid crystals the indicatrix
is a prolate ellipsoid of revolution (positive indicatrix).  The major axis (OA) corresponds to the long axis of liquid crystal molecules

The wave velocity surfaces for LC OA

Y

X

Polarization effects in LCs S

F

What if the molecules are tilted ?

OA

Y

X

ne
no

no

OA

If the LC molecules align themselves either  along the direction of the incident beam – no effect OR  along the direction of polarization of the incident beam- no effect

If the LC molecules align themselves in a plane making an angle with the incident beam – retardation is introduced between the orthogonal components of the emerging beam. The output polarization is in general elliptical. Over the plane of the SLM if the tilt angle varies (effected by varying the local voltages), - a phase distribution develops over the emerging beam.

What we have is a phase SLM!

Construction of Electrically addressed LC SLM
polarizer Polymide layer

LC
polarizer

ITO Edge seals

spacer

LC
TFT

Diffuser

Light guide
Reflector

Direction of output polarizer

NO transmitted light

TN-LC
VOLTAGE OFF
(TwistedNematic)

Voltage ON
When the direction of propagation of light is along to the optic axis of an uniaxial crystal, the state of input polarization remains unaffected !

Direction of input polarizer

900

100

450

50

0
0

0 0 2
Applied voltage

4

% Transmittance

Tilt angle

Individual Electrode addressed displays

Passive matrix displays

Thin Film Transistor (TFT) ot Active Matrix Technology

Time Multiplexing

STN-LC
 Multiplexed addressed TN displays allow upto 32 rows to be driven. Beyond that electrical power becomes so low that optical properties suffer  Scheffer (1985) and Waters (1985) showed that by using larger twist angles, threshold can be made very sharp and that a Twist angle of 2400 best suited this purpose and instead of a 1/32 duty cycle, 1/240 duty cycles could be achieved.  Practically, this was achieved by addition of chiral LC molecules and orientation of the rubbing direction so as to introduce the desired tilt.  STN displays gave colour effects. This was minimized by the addition of a retardation films located between the polarizers and the LC cell.  Used in all mobile phone displays. Too slow for laptops.

Voltage / transmission curve vs. mid-plane tilt angle for STN displays with various angles of twist.

900

Mid-layer Tilt angle

450

Twist angle
900 1800 2400 2700 3300

Bistasbility and other unwanted effects appear Sharp Threshold

00
0 2
Applied voltage

4

Adding colour to life

3 subpixels (basic colours

4 subpixels (basic colours + brightness)

Colour integrating effect of the eye

Specialized applications of EASLMS

Phase SLMs using LC

An LC Prism (beam deflector)

Gordon D. Love et.al., University of Durham, UK

Ideally, a phase difference of φ = exp[-ik(x2+y2)/2f] is to be achieved over the SLM.

Voltage across an LC lens

Bragwell et.al., University of Arizona, 2006

Interferograms (produced by placing the device between crossed polarizers) from a spherical LC lens, for different values of applied voltage (rms) and frequency.

LC off

LC off

LC on

Imaged object

defocussed object

Re-focussed object

Bragwell et.al., University of Arizona, 2006

LC Wavefront correctors

Each of the addressing leads leading from the bottom of the device makes contact with the continuous high resistance electrode, through the dielectric mirror. The impulse function around each lead can be controlled by altering the applied voltage and frequency. The overall effect is a superposition of the impulse functions all the electrodes.

Interferogram from the central area of a 16x16 actuator modal LC wavefront corrector. The applied voltage was 5V rms, at frequencies of 1KHz, 10KHz, and 100KHz, respectively.

Gordon D. Love et.al., University of Durham, UK

Matthew Goda, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio , et.al – Laser Focus World -2006

Spatial Light Modulators

Temporal

Spatio-temporal

Mechanical

Magneto-Optic

Electro-Optic

Acousto-Optic

Silver Halide etc.

Photoresists

Liquid Crystal

Amplitude

Phase

positive

negative

Optically addressed

Electrically addressed Phase

Amplitude

K1

Optically Addressed LC SLM – Hughes Liquid Crystal Light valve

Read light

Write light

Flat Glass substrate

Alignment layer

Alignment layer

Transparent electrode

LC layer

Flat Glass substrate Transparent Dielectric electrode mirror Photoconductive layer (CdS)
Opaque layer(CdTe)

Hughes Aircraft Research Laboratories, 1970, PA LC SLM

Slide 45 K1 The photoconductor is CdS The light blocking layer is CdTe Alignment layers are oriented 45 deg to each other The dielectric mirror also stops DC currents to flow through the device to extend its lifetime An audio frequency AC with rms 5-10V is applied across the electrodes In absense of write light the RMS volt. should not be sufficient to cause a rotation of the LC molecules. As such impedances of the PC layer and the diel.mirror layer are high (capactances low) so that most of the applied ac volt drops across these. In presence of write light the conductivity of pc layer increases, impedence goes ideally to zero and the voltage is applied on the LC cell. In presen
Kallol, 30/12/2006

Read-out operations of the OASLM

OFF STATE

Contrast ratios of 100:1 achievable

 Write time is ~ 10 msec  Erase time is 15 msec

ON STATE

Applications of OASLMs:  Conversion of coherent images to incoherent images
 Image amplification – a weak coherent or incoherent image can be read out with a intense coherent beam  An optical (amplitude) information in one wavelength is obtainable in other wavelength  Fast temporal response useful for real time OIP applications

Coherent optical processing using OASLM

OASLM

Correlator using OASLM

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