Avo Photonics, industry expert in rugged micro-optic design and manufacturing, has been contracted by Vescent Photonics to provide custom development and ongoing packaging services for its 2-dimensional electro-optic laser scanners.
Rather than controlling beam direction through mechanical manipulation of lenses or mirrors, Vescent's novel scanning technology uses changes in voltage through a silicon-mounted liquid crystal waveguide to steer optical output, resulting in the ability to maneuver a beam up to 270 degrees in-plane. The absence of moving mechanical components allows for a faster, lighter weight, more robust scanner with no induced angular momentum, ideal for such applications as laser range finding, topographical mapping and line-of-site communication between high-speed vehicles.
Vescent's initial program required Avo to design and produce packaged scanners with an input coupled polarization-maintaining optical fiber and scanned free-space emission over +20 degrees horizontally and +5 degrees vertically. Given the critical optical alignments inherent to the components, as well as the challenging thermal and mechanical vibration real-world environmental operating conditions, significant diligence and care were required.
The project used Avo’s advanced capabilities in tight-tolerance optical and mechanical design, precision micro-optical alignment, and ruggedized packaging. Avo was able to achieve and maintain stable low- loss fiber coupling to the single mode scanner and enable consistent device performance in diverse operating environments. The critical 0.02 degree (350 urad) input angle coupled fiber efficiently launched the 1550 nm laser light into the waveguide’s 10 um diameter, 0.1 NA mode field. To ensure that this alignment angle remains stable through the expected temperature variations and other environmental uncertainties, Avo performed a number of design analyses and physical tests, including temperature cycling, vibration, mechanical shock/drop and mounting stress.
“Vescent’s ability to raster a beam, in 2 dimensions, at high speed with no moving parts and in such an elegant, simple package is really exciting technology,” said Avo’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Thomas Haslett. “We are looking forward to the large-scale production of these scanners to support Vescent’s deployment needs.”
“Avo uniquely was able to satisfy all the challenging requirements they were given without any negativity or surprises,” said Scott Rommel, Chief Operating Officer of Vescent Photonics. “We were glad to see that they kept their processes completely transparent to us, so collaboration was easy and seamless.”
Avo is the photonics industry’s trusted source for exclusive, private label photonics design, development, and manufacturing. It produces confidential, client-owned optoelectronic solutions and products for military, aerospace, medical, communications and industrial application. Headquartered in greater Philadelphia with offices in Canada and European distribution, Avo was founded and still guided by laser physicists and engineers who blend critical, photonics-based disciplines into a single source for the conceptualizing, design, testing and producing of precision, rugged, optoelectronic components and assemblies. When the industry thinks Avo, they think Light. Precisely. Avo works with market leaders that demand strict confidentiality and advanced technology that address their rapidly evolving photonics needs.
Vescent Photonics develops and manufactures innovative electro-optic, waveguide, and laser technologies. From voltage control over optical phase to frequency stabilized diode laser systems and precision electronics, Vescent scientists and engineers are continuously developing new solutions to technical challenges. To find out more about Vescent Photonics, visit www.vescent.com.