Escuti Receives ImagineOptix Award for Polymer Polarization Research

June 02, 2008

Dr. Michael Escuti, ECE Department, NC State University
Dr. Michael Escuti, ECE Department, NC State University

Michael Escuti has been awarded $246,219 by the ImagineOptix Corp for research on Polymer Polarization Gratings For Liquid Crystal Microdisplays.

The award will run from May 1st, 2008 to April 30th, 2009.

Research Abstract - For the purposes of this proposal, my university lab at NCSU will provide ImagineOptix Inc with multiple polymer polarization gratings (PGs) on glass substrates for the purposes of integration into a transmissive-mode liquid crystal microdisplay projection system. We will optimize the material-properties of polymerizable liquid crystals for achromatic PG operation in the context of an LC projector system, which will involve both theoretical modeling and experimental fabrication. The number of final delivered gratings meeting all specifications will be at least 10, but many dozens of intermediate PGs will be fabricated (some of which will be made available to ImagineOptix Inc for evaluation upon request). Preliminary and final integration of the PGs into the projector system will be done in close collaboration with ImagineOptix Inc.

The deliverable polymeric PGs will be optimized for operation across the visible wavelength range (450 nm to 650 nm), have diffraction efficiency of 95% or greater into the first orders, have low insertion loss (e.g. less than 2%), have low zero order leakage (e.g. less than 2%), diffract green (530 nm) light into angles 12? or greater, and have a clear aperture of 2 cm or greater. Uniformity and cleanliness will be a top priority, with an objective to have high diffraction over the entire aperture with a variation of less than 2%. After integration of the PGs into the projection display system, the objective is an overall contrast ratio of greater than 500:1 with a three-color light-emitting-diode (LED) light source.

Over the one-year of the proposed project, Dr. Escuti and graduate students will design, fabricate, and characterize the PGs, and integrate them into a transmissive-mode LC microdisplay projector system (provided via ImagineOptix Inc). This will involve the purchase of various materials, specialized characterization equipment, laboratory consumables, various custom machined parts for fabrication, and various other optical and opto-mechanical parts. This will require stipend and tuition for a graduate student, allowance for publication fees, and travel funds for the PI and student to travel to technical conferences. Funds are also provided for the PI to travel to visit specialty-materials vendors to support the materials-optimization process.