Patents by Inventor Steven J. Spector

Steven J. Spector has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Publication number: 20220059950
    Abstract: An antenna system has a two-dimensional field of view, yet can be implemented on a surface, such as on electronic or photonic integrated circuits. The antenna system includes an array of antennas disposed in a predetermined non-linear pattern and a two-dimensional beamforming network (BFN). The antenna system can be steered/selectively beamformed in two dimensions through beam port selection. The beamforming network is disposed entirely on a single first surface. The beamforming network has a one-dimensional array-side interface disposed on the first surface and a one-dimensional beam-side interface disposed on the first surface. The antennas of the array of antennas are individually communicably coupled to the array-side interface. Segments of the beam-side interface map to respective pixels in the two-dimensional field of view.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 20, 2021
    Publication date: February 24, 2022
    Inventors: Julian A. Brown, Benjamin F. Lane, Hannah Clevenson, Lucas D. Benney, Michael G. Moebius, Robin M. A. Dawson, Steven J. Spector
  • Patent number: 11237335
    Abstract: MEMS-actuated optical switches can be implemented on photonic chips. These switches are compact, essentially planar, simple to implement and include only one moving MEMS component per switch. The switches exhibit low optical loss, require low power to operate, and are simple to control and easy to integrate with other optical devices. Each switch has two optical waveguides that are optically coupled in an ON switch state and not coupled in an OFF switch state. An end or a medial section of one of the two waveguides may translate between the ON and OFF states to affect the coupling. Alternatively, a coupling frustrator may translate between the ON and OFF states to affect the coupling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 2019
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2022
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Spector, Eugene H. Cook, Jonathan J. Bernstein
  • Publication number: 20210349186
    Abstract: A LiDAR system emits single mode light from a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) and is capable of receiving a different mode light, or multiple modes of light, into the PIC. Objects in the LiDAR's field of view may reflect light with a mode different from the mode of the light that illuminated the objects. Thus, in some embodiments, a single-mode optical waveguide, a single-mode-multi-mode optical junction, a multi-mode optical waveguide and an array of optical emitters on the PIC are configured to emit into free space light of a single mode from each optical emitter of the array of optical emitters. The multi-mode optical waveguide and the array of optical emitters are configured to receive from the free space light of a mode different from the single mode, or multiple modes, and to couple the light of the different mode or multiple modes into the multi-mode optical waveguide.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 5, 2021
    Publication date: November 11, 2021
    Inventors: Steven J. Byrnes, Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Spector
  • Publication number: 20210341585
    Abstract: A LiDAR system includes a light source and an arrayed micro-optic configured to receive light from the light source so as to produce and project a two-dimensional array of light spots on a scene. The LiDAR system also includes receiver optics having an array of optical detection sites configured so as to be suitable for establishing a one-to-one correspondence between light spots in the two-dimensional array and optical detection sites in the receiver optics. The LiDAR system further includes a birefringent prism and a lens. The LiDAR system may also include a mask placed in the light path between the birefringent prism and the receiver optics. Alternatively, the LiDAR system may include a controller programmed to activate or deactivate each optical detection site.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 1, 2020
    Publication date: November 4, 2021
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Lucas D. Benney, Steven J. Spector, Steven J. Byrnes
  • Publication number: 20210231780
    Abstract: A LiDAR system includes a light source and an arrayed micro-optic configured to receive light from the light source so as to produce and project a two-dimensional array of light spots on a scene. The LiDAR system also includes receiver optics having an array of optical detection sites configured so as to be suitable for establishing a one-to-one correspondence between light spots in the two-dimensional array and optical detection sites in the receiver optics. The LiDAR system further includes a beamsplitter and a lens. The LiDAR system may also include a mask placed in the light path between the beamsplitter and the receiver optics. Alternatively, the LiDAR system may include a controller programmed to activate or deactivate each optical detection site.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 27, 2020
    Publication date: July 29, 2021
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Lucas D. Benney, Steven J. Spector, Steven J. Byrnes
  • Patent number: 11048053
    Abstract: An optical system includes a laser source that provides a beam of light, a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) with an input aperture, and an alignment fixture that has at least one actuator. The alignment fixture may be mounted on the PIC. The optical system is aligned such that the beam of light travels from the laser source to the alignment fixture and from the alignment fixture to the input aperture of the PIC. The alignment fixture can move in at least one direction upon actuation of the at least one actuator to adjust coupling between the laser source and the PIC. The at least one actuator may be a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) structure actuated by an electrical signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 27, 2019
    Date of Patent: June 29, 2021
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Spector, Eugene H. Cook, Sean P. O'Connor
  • Publication number: 20210157067
    Abstract: An optical system includes a laser source that provides a beam of light, a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) with an input aperture, and an alignment fixture that has at least one actuator. The alignment fixture may be mounted on the PIC. The optical system is aligned such that the beam of light travels from the laser source to the alignment fixture and from the alignment fixture to the input aperture of the PIC. The alignment fixture can move in at least one direction upon actuation of the at least one actuator to adjust coupling between the laser source and the PIC. The at least one actuator may be a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) structure actuated by an electrical signal.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 27, 2019
    Publication date: May 27, 2021
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Spector, Eugene H. Cook, Sean P. O'Connor
  • Publication number: 20210119334
    Abstract: An optical and radio frequency (RF) antenna includes a substrate and a spiral pattern formed on and/or in the substrate from a metallic material. The spiral pattern has a central region and peripheral region surrounding the central region. The central region is configured to transmit and receive an optical signal at optical and/or infrared wavelengths and the peripheral region is configured to transmit and receive an RF signal at RF wavelengths. The central region and the peripheral region are configured such that an optical gain pattern of the central region and an RF gain pattern of the peripheral region are co-boresighted.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 21, 2019
    Publication date: April 22, 2021
    Inventors: Juha-Pekka J. Laine, Amy E. Duwel, Jacob P. Treadway, Robert Larsen, Steven J. Spector, Benjamin F. Lane, Stephen P. Smith
  • Publication number: 20210119410
    Abstract: A grating emitter method and system for modulating the polarization of an optical beam, such as one for transmission through free-space or use in an atomic clock.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 21, 2020
    Publication date: April 22, 2021
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Steven J. Byrnes, Robert Lutwak
  • Patent number: 10955529
    Abstract: A monostatic optical system adaptable for use as a circulator in a LiDAR system wherein the monostatic optical system includes a photonic integrated circuit and a first light detector. The photonic integrated circuit includes a nonlinear optical device. For example, the device may be a ring resonator or a Mach-Zehnder interferometer. Transmitted light pulses are of sufficient power to alter the optical characteristics of the nonlinear optical device, whereas received reflected light is of low power thereby traveling on a different path to the first light detector. A feedback monitor and tuner may be included to tune the optical characteristics of the nonlinear optical device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2021
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Michael G. Moebius
  • Patent number: 10908372
    Abstract: Embodiments described herein improve the performance of active sensing systems, such as LiDAR systems, and enable detection of objects closer to the system's sensor. Illustrative embodiments enable spatial separation of the excitation and return signal on a photonic integrated chip (“PIC”) such that separate waveguides can be used for the excitation and return signals, enabling isolation of the system's detectors from the excitation source without the use of a splitter or circulator. For example, preferred embodiments avoid loss due to the use of splitters and the need for gating the detector, and are desirably compatible with chip-scale systems. Moreover, illustrative embodiments enable keeping the excitation and detection paths on the same PIC (e.g. in an interleaved configuration), which helps keep the system more compact and avoid issues introduced by parallax.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 2, 2021
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Spector
  • Patent number: 10837755
    Abstract: A multi-beam optical phased array on a single planar waveguide layer or a small number of planar waveguide layers enables building an optical sensor that performs much like a significantly larger telescope. Imaging systems use planar waveguides created using micro-lithographic techniques. These imagers are variants of “phased arrays,” common and familiar from microwave radar applications. However, there are significant differences when these same concepts are applied to visible and infrared light.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2019
    Date of Patent: November 17, 2020
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Benjamin F. Lane, Steven J. Spector, Alan X. Zhou, Julian A. Brown, Michael G. Moebius
  • Patent number: 10838150
    Abstract: A coupling interface arrangement is described for a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) device. The PIC includes an interface coupling surface having optical grating elements arranged to form optical output locations that produce corresponding light output beams. A coupling lens couples the light output beams into a conjugate plane at a far-field scene characterized by one or more optical aberrations that degrade optical resolution of the light outputs. The optical grating elements are configured to correct for the one or more optical aberrations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 17, 2020
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Byrnes, Steven J. Spector, Francis J. Rogomentich, Matthew A. Sinclair
  • Patent number: 10823913
    Abstract: MEMS-actuated optical switches can be implemented on photonic chips. These switches are compact, essentially planar, simple to implement and include only one moving MEMS component per switch. The switches exhibit low optical loss, require low power to operate, and are simple to control and easy to integrate with other optical devices. Each switch has two optical waveguides that are optically coupled in an ON switch state and not coupled in an OFF switch state. An end or a medial section of one of the two waveguides may translate between the ON and OFF states to affect the coupling. Alternatively, a coupling frustrator may translate between the ON and OFF states to affect the coupling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 2019
    Date of Patent: November 3, 2020
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Spector, Eugene H. Cook, Jonathan J. Bernstein
  • Patent number: 10739520
    Abstract: An all-solid state optical transmit/receive terminal includes binary optical switches to steer an optical beam, without mechanical components, phased array of emitters/collectors or large number of phase shifters. A lens optically couples a surface array of emitters/collectors to free space, giving each emitter/collector a respective direction in free space. The emitters/collectors are also coupled, via an “H-tree” or other branched optical waveguide network, to a common input/output port, and from there to a receiver and/or transmitter. The binary optical switches are disposed at optical junctions of the optical waveguide network. ON switches pass an optical signal through the optical waveguide network, between the common input/output port and one or more selected emitter/collectors, thereby selecting a free space direction(s). Only a relatively small subset of the binary optical switches needs to be ON, therefore powered, simultaneously at any given time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2020
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Benjamin F. Lane, Steven J. Spector
  • Patent number: 10731964
    Abstract: A multi-beam optical phased array on a single planar waveguide layer or a small number of planar waveguide layers enables building an optical sensor that performs much like a significantly larger telescope. Imaging systems use planar waveguides created using micro-lithographic techniques. These imagers are variants of “phased arrays,” common and familiar from microwave radar applications. However, there are significant differences when these same concepts are applied to visible and infrared light.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2020
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Benjamin F. Lane, Steven J. Spector, Alan X. Zhou, Julian A. Brown, Michael G. Moebius
  • Patent number: 10684420
    Abstract: A steerable optical transmit and receive terminal includes a MEMS-based N×1 optical switch network. Each optical switch in the optical switch network uses an electrostatic MEMS structure to selectively position a translatable optical grating close to or far from an optical waveguide. In the close (“ON”) position, light couples between the translatable optical grating and the optical waveguide, whereas in the far (“OFF”) position, no appreciable light couples between the translatable optical grating and the optical waveguide. The translatable optical grating is disposed at or near a surface of the optical switch network. Thus, the translatable optical grating emits light into, or receives light from, free space. The steerable optical transmit and receive terminal also includes a lens and can steer a free space optical beam in a direction determined by which port of the N×1 optical switch network is ON.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 9, 2019
    Date of Patent: June 16, 2020
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Michael G. Moebius, Benjamin F. Lane, Gregg E. Favalora
  • Publication number: 20200150241
    Abstract: A LiDAR system has a field of view and includes a polarization-based waveguide splitter. The splitter includes a first splitter port, a second splitter port and a common splitter port. A laser is optically coupled to the first splitter port via a single-polarization waveguide. An objective lens optically couples each optical emitter of an array of optical emitters to a respective unique portion of the field of view. An optical switching network is coupled via respective dual-polarization waveguides between the common splitter port and the array of optical emitters. An optical receiver is optically coupled to the second splitter port via a dual-polarization waveguide and is configured to receive light reflected from the field of view. A controller, coupled to the optical switching network, is configured to cause the optical switching network to route light from the laser to a sequence of the optical emitters according to a temporal pattern.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 8, 2019
    Publication date: May 14, 2020
    Inventors: Steven J. Byrnes, Steven J. Spector, Michael G. Moebius
  • Publication number: 20200132849
    Abstract: A LiDAR system includes an array of optical emitters, an objective lens optically coupling each optical emitter to a respective unique portion of a field of view, an optical switching network coupled between a laser and the array of optical emitters and a controller coupled to the optical switching network and configured to cause the optical switching network to route light from the laser to a sequence of the optical emitters according to a dynamically varying temporal pattern and to vary the temporal pattern based at least in part on distance to an object within the field of view. The LiDAR system scans different portions of the field of view differently, such as with different laser power levels, different revisit rates and/or different scan patterns, for example based on likelihood of detecting objects of interest in the various portions or based on likely relative importance of objects likely to be found in the various portions.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 25, 2019
    Publication date: April 30, 2020
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Spector, Steven J. Byrnes, Christopher Bessette, Scott Evan Lennox
  • Publication number: 20200136340
    Abstract: A LiDAR system includes an array of optical emitters, an objective lens optically coupling each optical emitter to a respective unique portion of a field of view, an optical switching network coupled between a laser and the array of optical emitters and a controller coupled to the optical switching network and configured to cause the optical switching network to route light from the laser to a sequence of the optical emitters according to a dynamically varying temporal pattern and to vary the temporal pattern in a way that reduces risk of eye injury from the laser light.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 25, 2019
    Publication date: April 30, 2020
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Spector, Steven J. Byrnes, Christopher Bessette, Scott Evan Lennox, Matthew A. Sinclair, Francis J. Rogomentich