The increasing requirements of hyperspectral imaging optics, electro/photo-chromic materials, negative refractive index metamaterial optics, and miniaturized optical components from microscale to quantum-scale optics have all contributed to new features and advancements in optics technology. Development of multifunctional capable optics has pushed the boundaries of optics into new fields that require new disciplines and materials to maximize the potential benefits. The purpose of this study is to understand and show the fundamental materials and fabrication technology for field-controlled spectrally active optics (referred to as smart optics) that are essential for future industrial, scientific, military, and space applications, such as membrane optics, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) filters, windows for sensors and probes, telescopes, spectroscopes, cameras, light valves, light switches, and flat-panel displays. The proposed smart optics are based on the Stark and Zeeman effects in materials tailored with quantum dot arrays and thin films made from readily polarizable materials via ferroelectricity or ferromagnetism. Bound excitonic states of organic crystals are also capable of optical adaptability, tunability, and reconfigurability. To show the benefits of smart optics, this paper reviews spectral characteristics of smart optical materials and device technology. Experiments testing the quantum-confined Stark effect, arising from rare earth element doping effects in semiconductors, and applied electric field effects on spectral and refractive index are discussed. Other bulk and dopant materials were also discovered to have the same aspect of shifts in spectrum and refractive index. Other efforts focus on materials for creating field-controlled spectrally smart active optics (FCSAO) on a selected spectral range. Surface plasmon polariton transmission of light through apertures is also discussed, along with potential applications. New breakthroughs in micro scale multiple zone plate optics as a micro convex lens are reviewed, along with the newly discovered pseudo-focal point not predicted with conventional optics modeling. Micron-sized solid state beam scanner chips for laser waveguides are reviewed as well.
Smart Materials and Structures (ISSN 0964-1726) (e-ISSN 1361-665X); 26; 9; 093001