Boulder Nonlinear Systems (BNS) has built a wide-angle high-resolution flash lidar demonstrator using liquid crystal polarization gratings (LCPGs) for non-mechanical beam steering.

 

High-Definition Flash Lidar using LCPGs

As part of a recent 6-month SBIR effort, BNS has modified a commercial QVGA time-of-flight (ToF) camera with our patented LCPG beam steering to extend the resolution almost 8×. For this effort, BNS modified a ToF camera with native 320×240 resolution and 60°×45° field of view. By modifying the camera optics and incorporating LCPG non-mechanical beam steering, BNS converted the system to 2080×240 resolution and 44°×5.1° field of view.

The demonstration showcases several unique features of LCPG beam steering that make the technology particularly suited for flash lidar:

  • Compact Transmissive Assembly – Easy to integrate into optical systems. Can be an external component for easy replacement if necessary.
  • Solid-state / Non-mechanical – No moving parts to wear out or stick. Operation is unaffected by shock and vibration.
  • Large Angle-Aperture Product – Capable of steering both illumination and receiver paths over wide angles. The ability to use large receiver apertures boosts signal-to-noise ratio.
  • Low-SWaP – Thin, lightweight components minimize size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements.
  • Random Access – Scanning patterns can be instantly modified based on the situation to increase dwell time on objects of interest or avoid hot spots.
  • Wavelength/Polarization-sensitive – Works well with narrowband filters and polarizers to reduce solar background radiation.

More information can be found here or by contacting us directly.