Beam steering is an important factor in LIDAR, microscopy, telescopes, and optical wireless communications. In each of these areas, there is a need for a large sensing range using components with limited range. Additionally, There is a need in the sensor market for lower-power, smaller, and lighter high-performance technologies.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a novel technique for one and two-dimensional beam steering with tunable liquid lenses. The researchers have demonstrated wide steering angles and an adjustable beam that shows distinct advantages over other non-mechanical techniques. This technique exhibits a fast response time, low power consumption, and the ability to be miniaturized, making it an attractive commercial opportunity. This technology will lead to improved scanning for LIDAR and other optics applications where a large steered beam is critical.
Current alternative optical beam scanning solutions include mechanical solutions, which are often prone to mechanical failure, and non-mechanical solutions which are each subject to their own limitations. The proposed method is a nonmechanical solution that offers a large range of tunable focal lengths, fast response times, low power consumption, and durability.