Silicon Chip Color Spectrometers: Integrated Microspectrometers for Optical Spectroscopy and General Wavelength Division Management Applications
Description These optical systems span diverse optical microspectrometer and wavelength-division applications. The spectrometers separate optical energy according to wavelength in a manner enabling of general spectroscopy, general wavelength division demultiplexing applications and optical system integration. These wavelength-separating devices represent a new class of integrated optical spectroscopy products. In general, the devices take an input optical beam and spatially separate the beam into its wavelength constituent parts for further processing. In particular, in one set of compact embodiments, the devices integrate optical input, optical propagation along an optical waveguide, optical carrier separation by wavelength via an integrated distributed-wavelength optical filter (wedge shaped or otherwise graded filter), and wavelength-separated outcoupling means such as a fiber array or detector array. For example, multiple wavelength optical carriers are launched into the optical waveguide via an optical fiber input or other input means, and propagate along the optical waveguide to an optical filter region where wavelength-identified optical components are outcoupled with spatial separation (i.e., the wavelength outcoupled is a function of location along the optical waveguide). The optical filter(s) may be graded or otherwise structured for ease of multiple wavelength spatial selectivity. These wavelength-selected outcoupled optical carrier components are delivered to spatially separated and wavelength-identified output-receiving means. Such wavelength-selecting outcoupling means may include, but are not limited to, optical fibers, optical fiber arrays, optical waveguides, image transfer devices, micro-optics, detectors or detector arrays and/or other optical processing devices. A diversity of integrated optical system configurations is possible. Applications The applications regimes are quite general:
WDM and DWDM Applications: WDM and DWDM demultiplexing are potential communication applications of these integrated-optical microspectrometers.
Beam Splitter: Another example of the optical spectrometer applications flexibility is the use as an optical beam splitter. Here the divided beam may be of single or multiple wavelengths. Split beam component magnitudes may be controlled through selective design of the outcoupling optical filter structure.
General Spectroscopy Applications: The microspectrometer devices are suitable for a diversity of general spectroscopy applications. Examples include, but are not limited to, general chemical and biochemical analysis, process control, environmental monitoring, combustion analysis, selective wavelength imaging systems and many other applications. Main Advantages Advantages are many and include, but are not limited to: Low cost, small size, compactness, ruggedness, light weight, batch manufacturability, IC chip and/or wafer integration compatibility, fiber optic input and output, micro optics input and/or output, optical system integration, integrated optics configurations, large and preselected spectral ranges through the UV, IR and visible regimes, and convenient integration of specially designed, spatially-selective (e.g., graded) optical filters for preselected wavelength-separation and amplitude management functions. These small optical systems provide design flexibility. Device fabrication is compatible with IC manufacturing technologies
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