Spatial light modulators (SLM) are the components responsible for shaping light beams in a spatial pattern according to an electrical or optical input present in every optical imaging technology, from daily life projectors to all kinds of microscopies and emerging holographic displays.
Most SLMs are binary devices based in ferroelectric liquid crystals with switching times of 50 to 100 ms. The fastest comercial SLMs are binary devices based in ferroelectric liquid crystals or microelectromechanical systems with switching times of 10 to 100 microseconds, which hinders proper imaging of dynamic media and future display development. Dynamo proposes a complete reimagining of the Spatial Light Modulators to enable ultrafast spatial modulation of optical beams.
Our proposed SLMs consist of a micro-structured surface sustaining different deformation patterns upon mechanical excitation. We will design architectures sustaining different vibrational modes for each frequency, thus enabling to encode a large number of patterns with a short excitation pulse. As a result, this technology will reduce the operating times to spatially modulate light by several orders of magnitude.
Dynamo deals with the fundamentals of physical acoustics to develop complex imaging applications and englobes the theoretical design, scalable fabrication and photoacoustic characterization of micro-structures surfaces for their final implementation as SLMs for imaging technology. This complex pathway requires a multidisciplinary consortium made of theoreticians and experimentalists from the domains of acoustics and photonics.
The final objective of the project is to establish a disruptive technology where the spatial modulation of optical beams reach both the spatial and temporal limits, what constitutes a true breakthrough in current technologies where only the spatial limit has been reached.