Patent Number: 6,310,712

Title: Discrete element light modulating microstructure devices

Abstract: A light modulating or switching array (10) having a plurality of discrete protrusions (16) formed of electro-optic material, each of which is electrically and optically isolated from each other. The protrusions (16) have defined a top face (20), a bottom face (30), first and second side faces (22, 24), and front and back faces (26, 28). There are a plurality of electrodes (34) associated with each of the protrusions (16), these electrodes (34) being capable of inducing an electric field in the electro-optic material for independently modulating a plurality of light beams which are incident upon one of the faces (20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30) of the protrusions (16). The electro-optic material may be of PLZT, or a member of any of the groups of electro-optic crystals, polycrystalline electro-optic ceramics, electro-optic semiconductors, electro-optic glasses and electro-optically active polymers. Also disclosed is a light modulating array (10) of the type having a matrix (136) of electro-optic material which contains a plurality of embedded adjacent electrodes (134). These electrodes (134) are capable of inducing an electric field in the electro-optic material for independently modulating a plurality of light beams which are incident upon the matrix (136) of electro-optic material. This matrix (136) can be formed by a variety of processes, including a sol-gel process. Additionally disclosed is a system (11) in which light modulating arrays (10) are used to modulate incident light beams (42) and separate them into a plurality of data channels (94, 96).

Inventors: Romanovsky; Alexander B. (Cupertino, CA)

Assignee: Teloptics Corporation

International Classification: G02F 1/01 (20060101); G02F 1/055 (20060101); G02B 6/12 (20060101); G02B 6/35 (20060101); G02F 001/03 (); G02F 001/035 ()

Expiration Date: 10/30/2018