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Meas. Sci. Technol. 8 (1997) 764–772.

Printed in the UK

PII: S0957-0233(97)76689-X

Complex modulation characterization of liquid crystal devices by interferometric data correlation
E Mart´n-Badosa†, A Carnicer, I Juvells and S Vallmitjana ı
` Universitat de Barcelona, Laboratori d’Optica, Departament de F´sica Aplicada i ı ` Electronica, Diagonal 647, E08028 Barcelona, Spain Received 29 July 1996, in final form 1 April 1997, accepted for publication 15 April 1997 Abstract. A new phase modulation spatial light modulator (SLM) characterization procedure is presented, based on the analysis of the interference fringes of a Mach–Zender interferometer arrangement, by means of correlation and Fourier transform methods. This, accompanied by an amplitude calibration technique that makes use of the same experimental set-up, gives a general measurement procedure for SLM full complex characterization. As an experimental application, two different operation curves of an Epson LCTV are determined, in order to use these configurations for an optical pattern recognition procedure: a phase-only high-efficient joint transform correlator.

1. Introduction The development of high performance spatial light modulators (SLMs), which are devices that change the properties of light (amplitude, phase or polarization), has produced a great advance in real-time pattern recognition, in which hybrid opto-electronic designs are employed [1, 2]. Generally, amplitude and phase modulation are coupled, in the sense that both the amplitude and phase of light in its way through SLMs are modified [3]. However, it is possible to find some operation conditions in which one of them remains mainly constant as the other one changes considerably. These are called amplitude-mostly (or amplitude-only) configuration and phase-mostly (phaseonly) configurations [4]. Liquid crystal televisions (LCTVs) are electronicallyaddressed SLMs, where it is possible to display images at frame rate. They are often used in their amplitudemodulation mode, so they act as point-by-point selective transmittance elements. Using a phase-only configuration with high LCTV constant transmittance maximizes the light efficiency of the optical arrangement, because light absorption is minimum. It is then necessary to calibrate the device performance, both as a transmittance or amplitude modulator, or as a phase modulator [5, 6]. A new, easy phase calibration method, based on the fringe analysis of a Mach–Zender interferometer, is presented. An amplitude characterization that profits part of the same set-up is also explained. As an interferometric technique, the experimental arrangement has to be isolated from environmental vibrations and relies
† E-mail address: 0957-0233/97/070764+09$19.50 c 1997 IOP Publishing Ltd

on high-quality optical elements. Other procedures that extract the phase measurements from optical diffraction information have been developed in the literature [7, 8]. They present the advantage that they do not employ interferometric set-ups. However, they suffer from being derived from intensity measures, which are not as reliable as relative fringe displacement determination, as in our case. Moreover, the phase calibration method explained in [7] depends on transmittance modulation data, so it is not possible to separate the phase information calculation from that of the amplitude. On the other hand, the strategy in [8] works for phase-only operation but is induced to errors introduced by coupled amplitude and phase modulation. This is why we prefer our classical interferometric approach. A LCTV removed from a commercially available Epson videoprojector (VP-100PS) has been characterized in this work to show the validity of the method. The device response has great dependence on some potentiometer controls available on the videoprojector and on the polarization state of light. Moreover, it changes with ambient conditions, such as temperature, and it is not constant all over the active area (different pixels that compose the screen). It is then important to assure that we can rely on the response curves obtained for the LCTV, that is, that the knowledge of the device operation can be useful for some kind of application. As a consequence of the development of SLM technology and the improvement of their performance characteristics, a great advance in optical correlation realtime pattern recognition set-ups has been achieved. These techniques consist of detecting a target image in a complex

The LCTV modulation depends on the orientation of the two polarizers. which acts as a reference (phase modulation zero). so maximum contrast interference fringes are obtained. where N is the number of rows (N = 512). We will next prove that the LCTV characterization results can be applied to a novel highly-efficient optical pattern recognition design. 2. gl = 0. where we can see two cosinusoidal interference fringes out of phase. it is possible to represent their vertical profiles by the one-dimensional mathematical expressions that follow: Il (y) = al (y) + bl (y) cos[2πy/P + φl (y)] Ir (y) = ar (y) + br (y) cos[2πy/P + φr (y)] (y = 0 . where it is possible to change the input SLM image and to analyse the output fringe pattern. Because the interference fringes are aligned in the x or horizontal direction. r) represent possible background nonuniformities and bi (y) are related to the local contrast of the patterns. He-Ne LASER Figure 1. while different values are displayed on the other half. fundamentally. When all these variables but the last one remain constant. The whole digitized picture has 512 rows and columns. contrast and brightness and. (1) y is a discrete variable taking N different values. The method consists of the measurement of the relative phase shift between several pairs of grey levels displayed on the panel: half of the screen always remains with a constant grey-level value. which is related to their frequency by f = N/P . . The phase shift we have to determine is given by φ = φr (y) − φl (y) = 2π /P (3) 765 . A CCD camera registers the interference fringes of the two plane waves when the beam joins again. In order to reduce the non-uniformities and with the final idea of having an average measurement. The corresponding distributions are shown in figures 2(a) and 2(b). The collimated He–Ne laser beam is split by the first beamsplitter. The λ/2 plate in the other arm compensates the light polarization changes as it traverses the panel. The possible greylevel values in the computer are comprised between 0 and 255.: polarizer BS: beamsplitter OUTPUT INPUT M: mirror LCTV: liquid crystal television BS2 CCD pol. in order to determine the modulation of the LCTV when a grey-level image is displayed on it. λ/2 LCTV videoprojector M2 collimator M1 BS1 pol. based on a phase-only joint transform correlator. Phase measurement method A typical fringe pattern is shown in the middle of figure 2. P is the period of the fringes. 3. on the PC input image grey level (gl). scene by analysis of the optical correlation product between them. Both the videoprojector and the camera are connected to a PC computer through a Matrox-PIP-1024B 8-bit digitizer board. the position of some potentiometer controls available on the videoprojector. The phase variation produced when a LCTV is placed in one arm of the interferometer is translated onto a fringe displacement on the interference plane [9]. (2) ai (y) (i = l. considering the central 128 columns (comprised between the two vertical white lines depicted in figure 2) for both the left and right fringes.Complex modulation characterization of liquid crystal devices pol. Experimental set-up The experimental set-up used to measure the phase modulation of the LCTV is based on a Mach–Zender interferometer. The pixels of the LCTV are also visible. The experimental set-up for the phase measurement with a Mach–Zender interferometer. we have determined the mean value of the digitized intensity for each row. N − 1). it is interesting to study the phase and amplitude modulation of the light traversing the device as the input grey level changes. labelled as colour. . Equations (1) work for each column and should be approximately equal for all of them. as indicated. the left one (l) corresponding to the reference level (gl = 0) and the right one (r) to a grey level of 64. as shown in figure 1.

which can be expressed as Crl (y ) ≡ Ir ⊗ Il (y) = k=N −1 k=0 Ir (k)Il (k − y ). Figure 3. because of the noisy ripple present in the signal. Digitized average interference distributions compared with fringe patterns: (a) gl = 0 (left). it is only necessary to know the phase difference. (b) gl = 64 (right). Fringe displacement measurement A simple method to determine the fringe displacement is to perform the one-dimensional correlation product between 766 This gives a measure of the similarity of the two functions as one of them is displaced over the other. Due to the specific characteristics of the present work measurements. The exact determination of the position of the maximum is difficult. (4) 3. is depicted in figure 3. as indicated in equation (3). the two fringe patterns. Fourier transform of the figure 2(a) function before (thinner line) and after a low-pass filtering (thicker line). in the case of fringe correlation. normalized to its maximum value (100). it directly provides the fringe displacement. eu la V no it al er ro C de iz la mr o N mr of sn ra T re ir uo F de zi la mr o N Row Displacement Frequency Figure 4. so φr (y) and φl (y) can be determined separately and then the phase shift can be obtained by performing the subtraction. Consequently. The position of the correlation maximum corresponds to the maximum overlapping conditions and. The correlation product between the signals in figures 2(a) and 2(b). The correlation product of equation (4).E Mart´n-Badosa et al ı Column Number 0 0 64 192 256 320 448 512 0 64 64 128 128 Row Number Row Number 192 192 256 256 320 320 384 384 448 448 512 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 512 Digitized Value Digitized Value (a) (b) Figure 2. . One possibility is to apply Fourier transform fringepattern analysis methods [10].1. it is easier to calculate the relative fringe displacement and the fringe period and compute φ = 2π /P . where represents the right–left fringe displacement. which is primarily due to the LCTV pixel structure visible in the fringe patterns (figure 2).

which directly gives an average measure. All these sources of error should be considered. an average value of several peaks has been considered. 3. eu la V no it al er ro C de iz la mr o N Remainder Row Displacementpeak P M (5) Row Displacement where M is the number of averaged peaks (if all of them are considered. The maximum location process is easier and gives more accurate results. In order to reduce measurement errors. We have chosen the latter. ∂P P2 εf = εf ∂f N the Fourier transformation process so the total number of points increases. thus providing better resolution. a Fourier plane comparison between the left and right fringe distributions and their correlation product is preserved.95π = 171◦ . We use a Fourier transform technique in which low-pass filtering is applied to the Fourier transform of one of the signals and.5. εf = 0. it is possible to add non-data zeros to . by performing an inverse Fourier transformation. The correlation product between the cosinusoidal adjusted signals.3. Period measurement The period of the fringes can be determined either from the left or right cosinusoidal distributions or from their correlation product. So the graph in figure 6 has several maxima with decreasing amplitude as they move further away from the origin. the one-dimensional fringe distribution approximation. This gives a right–left fringe displacement : = peak eu la V de zi ti gi D Row number Figure 5. their correlation product has a tendency to decrease as it approaches the edges of the functions. of about 66 and 83 (periods of 8 and 6. The correlation function of two infinite sequences having the same period is periodic itself.2. Precision and error discussion The whole phase shift measurement method involves various steps with an associated error.Complex modulation characterization of liquid crystal devices In order to obtain a smoother function. When the input signals are finite. the intensity interference distributions of figures 2(a) and 2(b) are approximated to a cosine function. M = 2N/P ). 3. Cosinusoidal adjustment for the left distribution. The correlation product of the left and right smoothed signals is shown in figure 6. correspond to the LCTV pixels to be filtered. The period obtained from the Fourier transform correlation function is P = 61. The two secondary frequencies. so the final fringe shift is φ = 2π /P = 0. because less non-zero points contribute to the summation of equation (4).94 pixels. This introduces an error in the maximum position determination. an accuracy error εf in the frequency calculation is translated f into a period error. εP = f Figure 6. We have considered that εf = 1/64 is an acceptable value for our calculations. as the one plotted in figure 5. In figure 7. The Fourier transform of the signal has to be computed and the frequency that gives a maximum value determined. Note that while the left and right signals have a 0. as the number of points is high. The recovered smoother signal for the left fringe distribution is plotted in figure 5. moreover they are not exactly separated by one period. the resolution error εf is the ratio between N and the number of points of the signal to be transformed. As the correlation product has 2N information terms. so a series of equally-spaced maxima should appear. the cosinusoidal adjustment and the finite correlation product obtention. In order to reduce this error. εP . As a consequence of the fast Fourier transform routine employed for the calculations [11].25 resolution (3N zero points were added to the original signal) the correlation signal looks continuous.5 pixels. a recovered smoother signal is obtained. The result for the signals presented in this work is = 29. which would give f εP = 16 pixels for a period P = 64. as the digitalization process. apart from the implicit precision error derived from 767 (6) where all the errors are taken to be positive. From equation (2). Figure 4 shows the amplitude of the Fourier transform of the function in figure 2(a). The bold curve is the result of applying a low-pass filtering with a cut-off frequency a little above the maximum. respectively).

5 pixels (digitalization process) and the second term is the precision error given in equation (6). εP is the period determination error and ε is the fringe displacement error.050 εφ εφ εφ P.020 0.045 P.005 0. 0. ε / r or r E 0.025 ε εφ ∆. For εP we have εφ = |φ| εP = εP + εP = εP + dig dig f dig 0. the displacement and period calculations. as a resolution error the maximum value of εres should still be 0. which should be null if the fringes where perfectly aligned. From equation (3) it is easy to derive ε εP ε εP + = |φ| + 2π P | | P |φ|P εP ε = |φ| + 2π ≡ εφ (φ. Intuitively. statistically speaking one expects that this error is also averaged and diminishes as the number of peaks increases. We have studied the different sources of error and their contribution to the total measurement error. all of which have several contributions.010 0. Fourier transform of the correlation product and of the single signals. The total phase measurement error as a function of P . Nevertheless. dig.5 pixels. the corresponding perpendicular cosinusoidal distribution direction should be examined. P ) (7) P P where εφ is the total phase error. Even if several peaks are considered and averaged. although the following displacement and period calculation would be very precise. f 0.035 ∆ εφ . On the other hand.015 0. ε = εres + 2εP 768 f (9) εres is due to the finite resolution of the correlation discrete signal (equal to 0. res. So pix P pix ε ε res = = ε (10) M N where M = N/P is the number of averaged peaks (we consider that we take only half of them). Moreover. if the fringes are not perfectly aligned in the horizontal direction. For instance. in contrast.E Mart´n-Badosa et al ı Normalized Fourier Transform left right correlation Frequency Figure 7.5 pixels). with εf = 1/64.000 0 32 64 96 128 160 192 224 256 2 Figure 8. The second term of equation (9) is a consequence of the cosinusoidal adjustment period error: if we suppose f that the left smooth fringe distribution has a period P + εP . the phase shift obtained when all the LCTV panel has the reference grey level (gl = 0).030 0. too high a frequency (very narrow fringes) would have great digitalization inaccuracy. we have chosen a frequency for the fringes which minimizes the whole process error. one can see that too low a frequency would imply small digitalization imprecisions but a large period miscalculation and little correlation maxima for fringe displacement determination. is subtracted from all the measures.040 P 0. P2 εf N (8) where εP = 0. f φ ∆ φ π 0. In order to correct the error introduced when the y-direction is used to perform the measures.

The fact that a full 2π radian modulation is not attained is due to LCTV limitations. Characterization curves The amplitude and phase characteristics for specific polarizers and potentiometers configuration can be jointly displayed on a complex plane curve (as in figure 10). is placed first before the LCTV and then after it. Furthermore. An intensity detector.9π phase modulation is achieved. This gives ε = P pix P2 ε + 2 εf N N (11) f max and a maximum total error εφ (P ) = εφ (φ = π. The contrast of the modulator. Note that only the right and upper path is used. εf = 1/64.f = P P ε εP + εf + + 2 εf P N N N dig pix (12) = 0. considering almost constant transmittance. for example. in which the device transmittance (amplitude square) increases with the grey level. all the pixels having the same input grey-level value. where each point stands for a single grey level. giving a minimum value for the periods of about 64 pixels (eight maxima and eight minima in the digitized picture).05π (9◦ ). Figure 10(b) shows a phase-mostly configuration. The measurement has been repeated for 16 evenly spaced grey-level values. because the transmittance is almost constant (the minimum transmittance is about 85% of the maximum) and 1. The transmittance characteristics of the device are measured by profiting from the same set-up as for the phase evaluation. it is possible to determine the change in light phase as it goes through the LCTV. so the second one has to be removed from its original position and placed between the LCTV and the luxmeter. so that the operation curve found is the best one we can obtain with this device. We can see that the intuitive behaviour is well reproduced. The experimental arrangement for the amplitude modulation measurement: detail. being positive if the polarizer turns clockwise in the direction of light propagation and negative if it turns counterclockwise. in order to have identical experimental conditions (figure 9).Complex modulation characterization of liquid crystal devices BS2 pol. εP = ε shows the different contributions to the total error and their dependence with P . the correlation maxima would be displaced from their original position by an amount of f 2εP . max εφ (P ) P = εφ + εφ = εφ pix P . We show two interesting LCTV configuration results: the first one (figure 10(a)) corresponds to a high-contrast mode. The positions of the brightness (Bn). where T stands for the transmittance. The transmittance of the device is the ratio between the intensity of the light before going through the panel and after it. we have observed a variation of 0. The modulus of a vector from the origin of coordinates to the considered point gives the amplitude modulation and the angle within the real-positive axis is the phase shift. P ). defined as C = Tmax /Tmin (13) and the right one P − εP . contrast (Cn) and colour (Cl) potentiometers available on the videoprojector are also specified. such as a luxmeter. This is the reason why we can state that. Amplitude modulation method With the method described above. the deviation from the real phase shift value is about 0. we briefly describe the transmittance measurement method. An estimation of the normalized amplitude relative error gives 1%. The remainder of the points (circles) are obtained by linear interpolation. 5.dig π dig + εφ P . it is then necessary to know its transmittance performance. The total maximum error is in this case 0. Figure 8 with N = 512. usually called amplitude light modulation. from gl = 0 to gl = 255.5. is about 126:1. which gives a linear output with respect to the intensity of the light. reaching a normalized maximum value of 1 for gl = 255. The image displayed on the SLM is uniform. for a phase modulation characterization. Figure 9. 4. The measurement is repeated for each of the possible input values. so the dependence of the transmittance with the grey level is determined.res + εφ .f + εφ . The orientations of the first polarizer and the analyser (polarizer placed after the LCTV) are indicated in degrees relative to the laboratory vertical. LCTV M2 λ/2 INTENSITY DETECTOR M1 BS1 pol. as a consequence. The dashed path is not in use. For a complete device calibration. The amplitude modulation is simply given by the transmittance square root. it does not represent a 769 .05π over different measures taken in the same experimental conditions. Next. due to the variation of the LCTV response with time. corresponding to the squared symbols in the curves.02π . A related intensity light variation is always present. of the temperature dependence. The whole working performance of the liquid crystal display involves both polarizers. Nevertheless.

for which the intensity distribution. A quick review of the mathematical expressions follows. We assume that the scene is located at (x0 . among other non-desirable terms such as self-correlation functions. A lens system (FL) performs an optical Fourier transform. several improvements have been proposed in order to obtain real-time detection by using liquid crystal devices.v)) and |H(u.v)) (17) (16) problem in pattern recognition applications.E Mart´n-Badosa et al ı Imag 1.0 (a) Imag 1.v)| exp(iφS (u.5 PC gl=0 -1. -1.Cn. Ic1 (u. v)|2 +|H (u. v)+φR (u. v)||H (u. the JPS obtained is displayed on the LCTV and. In a second step. The joint transform correlator (JTC) is one of the possible coherent processor architectures.0) o 0. v) which can be phase-modulated on the LCTV as ei(2π(x0 u+y0 v)+φR (u.10. y0 ) and (−x0 . y) and the scene h(x.v)−φS (u. The JPS is described by the equation I (u. is based on the obtention of the cross-correlation product between the scene and the reference image. −y0 ) if the object is detected.5 gl=0 -1.Cl)=(0.0 Real gl=37 -0. which consists of the detection of a target image in a complex scene and.0 Real detection is accomplished. y0 ). 6. v) − φS (u. v) stands for the spatial frequency coordinates. A simple scheme of the JTC architecture is shown in figure 11: the scene and the reference are jointly displayed on a liquid crystal device. v)−φS (u. (u.1.10) o LCTV FL CCD 0. respectively.5 0. is registered by a CCD camera. In a previous paper [13] we presented a simple procedure for obtaining the cosine term in equation (14). v)|2 +2|HR (u. Since 1967.0 gl=36 Pol: 4 o Anal: -65 (Br. where |HR (u.0 Pol: 6 o Anal: -5 (Br. Theoretical discussion One of the usual approaches for obtaining optical pattern recognition.0 -0. when first introduced by Weaver and Goodman [12]. the cross-correlation product between the scene and the reference is obtained. Application in a phase-only joint transform correlator 6. in the case that the 770 .10. The joint transform correlator architecture scheme. v)} (15) which.Cn. as we explain in the following section for the case of a phase-only joint transform correlator. most of the papers published have analysed different systems in order to increase discrimination capability.5 1. In the last few years. after a second Fourier transformation. after a second Fourier transformation. v) = cos{2π(x0 u+y0 v)+φR (u. called the joint power spectrum (JPS). v)| × cos{2π(x0 u+y0 v)+φR (u.0 gl=71 -0.5 0. v)) are the Fourier transforms of the reference hR (x.Cl)=(2.5 Figure 11.5 gl=255 -0. the determination of its position. y). v)−φS (u.v)| exp(iφR (u. v)} (14) -1. v) = |HR (u.5 gl=255 1. performs δlike correlations in (x0 . The idea of the present paper is to determine the phase distribution 2π(x0 u + y0 v) + φR (u.0 gl=144 (b) Figure 10. The amplitude-phase characterization curve: (a) high-contrast and (b) phase-mostly configurations.

which is impossible for the images used 771 . the phase-only correlation is obtained. The four single peaks in the positions of the butterflies matching the reference noticeable on the detailed three-dimensional plot of the cross-correlation product of figure 14 demonstrate how the detection process is successfully accomplished. IC1 (u. which gives a high contrast between gl = 255 and gl = 0 (background) and a phase shift between gl = 255 and gl = 37 of π/2. In order to display this phase on the LCTV. four of them corresponding to the target below. A three-dimensional plot of the cross-correlation term. A previous binarization of the scene. Finally. This can be worked out by spatial separation of the scene and the reference on the LCTV display. to be recognized (figure 12). a continuous phasemodulation operation curve has to be determined. a DC strong spot and centred self-correlation terms would appear. In a classical JTC (see equation (14)).2. This is the case for the characterization conditions of figure 10(b). This is a consequence of the sine distribution obtention. v) = cos{2π(x0 u + y0 v) + φR (u. is possible with an associate high constant transmittance. v) +π/2 − φS (u. v)} = − sin{2π(x0 u + y0 v) + φR (u. if it Figure 14. where there is only a small zero-order peak and the cross-correlation between the scene and the reference is evident. v) (19) (18) Figure 13. is necessary in this kind of detection process. v) − φS (u. in order to have comparable energies (or light transmittances). This gives a JPS IC2 (u. so the final phase information (equation (19)) can be computed. 6. which gives a single detection peak and maximizes the correlator light efficiency. In this way it is possible to obtain the cosine and sine distributions of equations (15) and (18). The binary input scene and reference (single butterfly). This can be accomplished by inserting a constant phase factor of π/2 in the scene or in the reference. in which it is necessary to introduce a constant π/2 phase shift between the scene and the reference.Complex modulation characterization of liquid crystal devices Figure 12. This can be accomplished for a single grey level but not for all of them. Experimental procedure and results The LCTV characterized with the method developed in this paper has been used in an optical joint transform correlator as described above and sketched in figure 11. v) = 2π(x0 u + y0 v) + φR − φS . v)} so arctan −IC2 (u. Because the gl = 37 transmittance is about 44% of the maximum (gl = 255). We have chosen the modulation curve shown in figure 10(a). the scene (16 butterflies) is displayed on the LCTV with a gl = 37 and the reference (a single butterfly) in white (gl = 255). which would overlap with the shifted cross-correlation terms and make the detection impossible. Correlation plane results for the phase-only JTC. The scene used is a complex one consisting of 16 butterflies. with a proper threshold so that all the single patterns have approximately the same energy. The whole correlation plane is shown in figure 13.

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