Novel smart modules for imaging, communications, and displays

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Marraccini, Philip J.
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University College Cork
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This dissertation proposes and demonstrates novel smart modules to solve challenging problems in the areas of imaging, communications, and displays. The smartness of the modules is due to their ability to be able to adapt to changes in operating environment and application using programmable devices, specifically, electronically variable focus lenses (ECVFLs) and digital micromirror devices (DMD). The proposed modules include imagers for laser characterization and general purpose imaging which smartly adapt to changes in irradiance, optical wireless communication systems which can adapt to the number of users and to changes in link length, and a smart laser projection display that smartly adjust the pixel size to achieve a high resolution projected image at each screen distance. The first part of the dissertation starts with the proposal of using an ECVFL to create a novel multimode laser beam characterizer for coherent light. This laser beam characterizer uses the ECVFL and a DMD so that no mechanical motion of optical components along the optical axis is required. This reduces the mechanical motion overhead that traditional laser beam characterizers have, making this laser beam characterizer more accurate and reliable. The smart laser beam characterizer is able to account for irradiance fluctuations in the source. Using image processing, the important parameters that describe multimode laser beam propagation have been successfully extracted for a multi-mode laser test source. Specifically, the laser beam analysis parameters measured are the M2 parameter, w0 the minimum beam waist, and zR the Rayleigh range. Next a general purpose incoherent light imager that has a high dynamic range (>100 dB) and automatically adjusts for variations in irradiance in the scene is proposed. Then a data efficient image sensor is demonstrated. The idea of this smart image sensor is to reduce the bandwidth needed for transmitting data from the sensor by only sending the information which is required for the specific application while discarding the unnecessary data. In this case, the imager demonstrated sends only information regarding the boundaries of objects in the image so that after transmission to a remote image viewing location, these boundaries can be used to map out objects in the original image. The second part of the dissertation proposes and demonstrates smart optical communications systems using ECVFLs. This starts with the proposal and demonstration of a zero propagation loss optical wireless link using visible light with experiments covering a 1 to 4 m range. By adjusting the focal length of the ECVFLs for this directed line-of-sight link (LOS) the laser beam propagation parameters are adjusted such that the maximum amount of transmitted optical power is captured by the receiver for each link length. This power budget saving enables a longer achievable link range, a better SNR/BER, or higher power efficiency since more received power means the transmitted power can be reduced. Afterwards, a smart dual mode optical wireless link is proposed and demonstrated using a laser and LED coupled to the ECVFL to provide for the first time features of high bandwidths and wide beam coverage. This optical wireless link combines the capabilities of smart directed LOS link from the previous section with a diffuse optical wireless link, thus achieving high data rates and robustness to blocking. The proposed smart system can switch from LOS mode to Diffuse mode when blocking occurs or operate in both modes simultaneously to accommodate multiple users and operate a high speed link if one of the users requires extra bandwidth. The last part of this section presents the design of fibre optic and free-space optical switches which use ECVFLs to deflect the beams to achieve switching operation. These switching modules can be used in the proposed optical wireless indoor network. The final section of the thesis presents a novel smart laser scanning display. The ECVFL is used to create the smallest beam spot size possible for the system designed at the distance of the screen. The smart laser scanning display increases the spatial resoluti on of the display for any given distance. A basic smart display operation has been tested for red light and a 4X improvement in pixel resolution for the image has been demonstrated.
Imaging , Laser beam characterization , Laser scanning display , Optical wireless , High power imaging , Multimode laser beam analyzer , Energy efficient optical wireless , Digital micromirror device imager
Marraccini, P. J. 2013. Novel smart modules for imaging, communications, and displays. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.