Form 9.B Project Summary

Chron: 972331

Proposal Number: 24.03-2191

Project Title: FLC-VLSI Spatial Light Modulators for Optical Memory Read/Write Heads

Technical Abstract (Limit 200 words)

To handle growing needs for storing and accessing extremely large volumes of data such as generated by NASA missions, new high-capacity, high-speed, compact memory technologies are needed. Several companies and research laboratories are developing optical holographic memories that could solve this problem. However, viable systems need specialized, high-speed, electro-optic I/O devices such as spatial light modulators (SLMs). Optical write heads must contain a large number of pixels, must be capable of high-data rates, and must have optical characteristics unique to this application. Efficient recording requires a fixed random phase pattern to be impressed on the data. No existing SLMs have this capability. Displaytech builds SLMs using ferroelectric liquid crystals (FLCs) with speeds up to 10,000 frames/s. We have built 1,2801,024 pixel SLMs capable of over 2,000 frames/s at data rates exceeding 2.6 Gbit/s. The innovation we propose is to combine two state-of-the-art photonics technologies, FLC SLMs and micro-optics, to build high-speed write heads with integrated random phase masks. We will collaborate with a leader in holographic memory development, Optitek, who will test these devices. We will also collaborate in exploring system architectures that are made possible by the use a advanced SLM and smart-pixel SLM technology for read and write.

Potential Commercial Applications (Limit 200 words)

The proposed spatial light modulator (SLM) is targeted specifically at the emerging, commercial holographic storage industry. In order for these systems to attain the highest possible performance, smallest size, and lowest cost, they need key components such as electro-optic read/write heads which do not now exist. Aside from the obvious uses that NASA has for fast, high-density data storage, the commercial potential of the SLM can be estimated by looking at markets for current mass storage devices such as magnetic media, CDs, and DVD. Every holographic memory system sold will need one or more optical write, or optical read/write heads. The proposed SLM should also be useful for other types of optical and holographic recording, and for optical encryption of two-dimensional data sets.

Name and Address of Principal Investigator (Name,

Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)

Dr. Mike O'Callaghan

Displaytech, Inc

2602 Clover Basin Drive

Longmont , CO 80503-7603

Name and Address of Offeror (Firm Name, Mail Address,


Dr. Mark Handschy

Displaytech, Inc.

2602 Clover Basin Drive

Longmont , CO 80503-7603