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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Complex Spatial Light Modulator and 3d Image Display Including the Same", for Approval

August 20, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors SUNG, Gee-young (Daegu, KR); KIM, Hwi (Seoul, KR); SONG, Hoon (Yongin-si, KR); WON, Kang-hee (Seoul, KR); LEE, Hong-seok (Seongnam-si, KR), filed on January 29, 2014, was made available online on August 7, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Korea University Research And Business Foundation.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Apparatuses consistent with exemplary embodiments relate to complex spatial light modulators and three-dimensional (3D) image display apparatuses including the complex spatial light modulators.

"Recently, the release of three-dimensional (3D) movies is increasing, and accordingly, research into technology related to 3D image display apparatuses is increasing. A 3D image display apparatus displays a 3D image based on binocular parallax, and thus, 3D image display apparatuses that are currently commercialized use the principle of binocular parallax to allow viewers to perceive stereoscopy by respectively providing a left view image and a right view image, which differ in viewpoints, to a left eye and a right eye. Examples of the 3D image display apparatus include a glasses-type 3D image display apparatus, which requires particular glasses, and a no-glasses type 3D image display apparatus, which requires no glasses.

"However, when viewing a 3D image displayed according to a binocular parallax method, eye fatigue is intense, and a 3D image display apparatus that provides only two viewpoints, that is, a left view image and a right view image, is not capable of reflecting changes in a viewpoint according to movement of the viewer, and thus it is limited in its ability to provide natural stereoscopy.

"In order to display a more natural stereoscopic image, a holographic 3D image display apparatus is currently being researched. However, in order to implement a holographic 3D image display apparatus, a device that is capable of controlling not only amplitude but also phase of light is necessary. When an image is displayed by using a device that is capable of controlling only one of luminance (amplitude) and phase of light, image quality may be degraded by, for example, zero-order diffraction light, twin images, or speckles.

"A holographic 3D image display apparatus may include a holographic optical element in order to control an amplitude of the light. However, such a device, for example, a Bragg grating, is composed of birefringent materials, and is therefore polarization-dependent. Thus, the use of such a holographic optical element also requires the use of a polarizer and a half-wave plate, or other polarizing optical elements in order for the amplitude of the light incident on the holographic optical element to be controlled. Such additional elements add to the complexity and cost of the device. Furthermore, the 'radiation effect' problem of current holographic optical elements is known. The photopolymer function of current holographic optical elements degrades over time, causing the optical performance of the image display apparatus to decay over time. Such polarization-dependent optical elements are also expensive and difficult to manufacture and are limited in size."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "One or more exemplary embodiments may provide complex spatial light modulators that are capable of controlling both amplitude and phase of light.

"One or more exemplary embodiments may provide holographic three-dimensional (3D) image display apparatuses including complex spatial light modulators that are capable of controlling both amplitude and phase of light and displaying a stereoscopic image.

"Additional aspects and/or advantages will be set forth in part in the description which follows and, in part, will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the presented embodiments.

"According to an aspect of an exemplary embodiment, a complex spatial light modulator includes: a spatial light modulator that modulates a phase of light; a prism array that is disposed next to the spatial light modulator, wherein a prism unit having a first prism surface and second prism surface is arranged in the prism array; and a polarization-independent diffracting element that diffracts light that has passed through the prism array.

"The first prism surface and the second prism surface may be symmetrically arranged with respect to each other.

"The first prism surface and the second prism surface may be disposed to face pixels of two lines of the spatial light modulator.

"First light that is refracted at the first prism surface and second light that is refracted at the second prism surface may be combined along one optical axis by using the diffracting element.

"The first prism surface and the second prism surface may be disposed to face each other, and the first prism surface and the second prism surface may have the same gradient with respect to a central line of the first prism surface and the second prism.

"+1 order light that is formed by diffracting first light that is refracted at the first prism surface, by using the diffracting element, and -1 order light that is formed by diffracting second light that is refracted at the second prism surface, by using the diffracting element, may be combined.

"The spatial light modulator may include a liquid crystal layer.

"An interval between the prism array and the diffracting element may satisfy the following equation:

"h=T/tan .theta., where h denotes the interval between the prism array and the diffracting element, T denotes a pitch of pixels of the spatial light modulator, and .theta. denotes an incident angle of light that is incident on the diffracting element. The diffracting element may be a semiconductor diffracting element comprising an array of protrusions and grooves.

"According to an aspect of another exemplary embodiment, a three-dimensional (3D) image display apparatus includes: a light source unit that emits light; a spatial light modulator that modulates a phase of the light emitted from the light source unit; an image signal circuit unit that inputs an image signal to the spatial light modulator; and a beam combiner that modulates phase and amplitude of light emitted from the spatial light modulator, wherein the beam combiner includes: a prism array that is disposed next to the spatial light modulator, wherein a prism unit having a first prism surface and second prism surface is arranged in the prism array; and a polarization-independent diffracting element that diffracts light that has passed through the prism array.

"According to an aspect of another exemplary embodiment, a complex spatial light modulator includes: a spatial light modulator that modulates a phase of light transmitted therethrough; a prism array comprising an array of a plurality of prism units, wherein light from the spatial light modulator is incident on the prism array; and a semiconductor diffracting element comprising an array of protrusions and grooves, wherein, for each of the plurality of prism units, the diffracting element combines light transmitted through a first prism surface and light transmitted through a second prism surface to travel on a single optical axis.

"According to an aspect of another exemplary embodiment, a three-dimensional (3D) image display apparatus, includes: a light source unit that emits light; a spatial light modulator that modulates a phase of light transmitted therethrough; a prism array comprising an array of a plurality of prism units, wherein light from the spatial light modulator is incident on the prism array; and a semiconductor diffracting element comprising an array of protrusions and grooves, wherein, for each of the plurality of prism units, the diffracting element combines light transmitted through a first prism surface and light transmitted through a second prism surface to travel on a single optical axis.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"These and/or other aspects and advantages will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of exemplary embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

"FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a complex spatial light modulator according to an exemplary embodiment;

"FIG. 2A is a front side view of a complex spatial light modulator according to an exemplary embodiment;

"FIG. 2B is a perspective view of a complex spatial light modulator according to an exemplary embodiment;

"FIG. 3 is a view for explaining an operation of a complex spatial light modulator illustrated in FIG. 1 according to an exemplary embodiment;

"FIG. 4 is a photographic image of light that is combined by using a complex spatial modulator according to an exemplary embodiment;

"FIG. 5 is a view for explaining light that is being combined in a complex spatial light modulator according to an exemplary embodiment;

"FIG. 6 is a schematic view of a three-dimensional (3D) image display apparatus according to an exemplary embodiment; and,

"FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a semiconductor diffracting element according to an exemplary embodiment."

For additional information on this patent application, see: SUNG, Gee-young; KIM, Hwi; SONG, Hoon; WON, Kang-hee; LEE, Hong-seok. Complex Spatial Light Modulator and 3d Image Display Including the Same. Filed January 29, 2014 and posted August 7, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4712&p=95&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140731.PD.&OS=PD/20140731&RS=PD/20140731

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Semiconductor, Korea University Research And Business Foundation.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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