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).

  • Patent number: 10636918
    Abstract: A single photon detection circuit is described that includes a germanium photodiode that is configured with zero voltage bias to avoid dark current output when no photon input is present and also is configured to respond to a single photon input by generating a photovoltaic output voltage. A single electron bipolar avalanche transistor (SEBAT) has a base emitter junction connected in parallel with the germanium photodiode and is configured so that the photovoltaic output voltage triggers an avalanche collector current output.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 24, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 28, 2020
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Robin Mark Adrian Dawson, Michael G. Moebius, Benjamin F. Lane
  • Patent number: 10599098
    Abstract: A nanophotonic phased array is configured to generate dynamic three-dimensional imagery when employed as an oscillatory beam-steering device. A scanning nanophotonic phased array generates programmable light fields. That is, a phased array generates reconfigurable light fields when controlled to perform an angular scan of incident illumination synchronized with respect to modulation of the incident illumination.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2020
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Gregg E. Favalora, Steven J. Spector, Benjamin F. Lane
  • Publication number: 20200056877
    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: Application
    Filed: October 23, 2019
    Publication date: February 20, 2020
    Inventors: Benjamin F. Lane, Steven J. Spector, Alan X. Zhou, Julian A. Brown, Michael G. Moebius
  • Publication number: 20200041728
    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: Application
    Filed: October 9, 2019
    Publication date: February 6, 2020
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Michael G. Moebius, Benjamin F. Lane, Gregg E. Favalora
  • Patent number: 10534063
    Abstract: A zero-optical-path-length-difference optical phased array built with essentially planar photonic devices determines a direction to an incoherent optical source, such as a star. The phased array can replace a 3-dimensional star tracker with a nearly 2-dimensional system that is smaller and lighter. The zero-optical-path-length-difference phased array can be optically connected to an interferometer. Driven by a light source, the zero-optical-path-length-difference phased array can be used as an optical projector.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2019
    Date of Patent: January 14, 2020
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Benjamin F. Lane, Steven J. Spector, Juha-Pekka J. Laine
  • Patent number: 10473862
    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: December 16, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 12, 2019
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Michael G. Moebius, Benjamin F. Lane, Gregg E. Favalora
  • Patent number: 10473766
    Abstract: A LiDAR system and scanning method creates a two-dimensional array of light spots. A scan controller causes the array of light spots to move back and forth so as to complete a scan of the scene. The spots traverse the scene in the first dimensional direction and in the second dimensional direction without substantially overlapping points in the scene already scanned by other spots in the array. An arrayed micro-optic projects the light spots. Receiver optics includes an array of optical detection sites. The arrayed micro-optic and the receiver optics are synchronously scanned while maintaining a one-to-one correspondence between light spots in the two dimensional array and optical detection sites in the receiver optics.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 27, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 12, 2019
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventor: Steven J. Spector
  • Patent number: 10466423
    Abstract: A steerable optical transmit and receive terminal includes a MEMS-based N×1 optical switching network. Each optical switch in the switching 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 switching 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 switching network is ON.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2019
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Michael G. Moebius, Benjamin F. Lane
  • Publication number: 20190271821
    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: Application
    Filed: March 5, 2018
    Publication date: September 5, 2019
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Spector
  • Publication number: 20190235053
    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: Application
    Filed: January 31, 2018
    Publication date: August 1, 2019
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Michael G. Moebius
  • Publication number: 20190219658
    Abstract: A zero-optical-path-length-difference optical phased array built with essentially planar photonic devices determines a direction to an incoherent optical source, such as a star. The phased array can replace a 3-dimensional star tracker with a nearly 2-dimensional system that is smaller and lighter. The zero-optical-path-length-difference phased array can be optically connected to an interferometer. Driven by a light source, the zero-optical-path-length-difference phased array can be used as an optical projector.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 21, 2019
    Publication date: July 18, 2019
    Inventors: Benjamin F. Lane, Steven J. Spector, Juha-Pekka J. Laine
  • Publication number: 20190162908
    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: Application
    Filed: November 28, 2018
    Publication date: May 30, 2019
    Inventors: Michael G. Moebius, Steven J. Byrnes, Steven J. Spector, Francis J. Rogomentich, Matthew A. Sinclair
  • Publication number: 20190131467
    Abstract: A single photon detection circuit is described that includes a germanium photodiode that is configured with zero voltage bias to avoid dark current output when no photon input is present and also is configured to respond to a single photon input by generating a photovoltaic output voltage. A single electron bipolar avalanche transistor (SEBAT) has a base emitter junction connected in parallel with the germanium photodiode and is configured so that the photovoltaic output voltage triggers an avalanche collector current output.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 24, 2018
    Publication date: May 2, 2019
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Robin Mark Adrian Dawson, Michael G. Moebius, Benjamin F. Lane
  • Patent number: 10274575
    Abstract: A zero-optical-path-length-difference optical phased array built with essentially planar photonic devices determines a direction to an incoherent optical source, such as a star. The phased array can replace a 3-dimensional star tracker with a nearly 2-dimensional system that is smaller and lighter. The zero-optical-path-length-difference phased array can be optically connected to an interferometer. Driven by a light source, the zero-optical-path-length-difference phased array can be used as an optical projector.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 30, 2019
    Assignee: The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
    Inventors: Benjamin F. Lane, Steven J. Spector, Juha-Pekka J. Laine
  • Publication number: 20180356597
    Abstract: A steerable optical transmit and receive terminal includes a MEMS-based N×1 optical switching network. Each optical switch in the switching 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 switching 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 switching network is ON.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 7, 2018
    Publication date: December 13, 2018
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Michael G. Moebius, Benjamin F. Lane
  • Publication number: 20180259626
    Abstract: A LiDAR system and scanning method creates a two-dimensional array of light spots. A scan controller causes the array of light spots to move back and forth so as to complete a scan of the scene. The spots traverse the scene in the first dimensional direction and in the second dimensional direction without substantially overlapping points in the scene already scanned by other spots in the array. An arrayed micro-optic projects the light spots. Receiver optics includes an array of optical detection sites. The arrayed micro-optic and the receiver optics are synchronously scanned while maintaining a one-to-one correspondence between light spots in the two dimensional array and optical detection sites in the receiver optics.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 27, 2017
    Publication date: September 13, 2018
    Inventor: Steven J. Spector
  • Publication number: 20180210394
    Abstract: A nanophotonic phased array is configured to generate dynamic three-dimensional imagery when employed as an oscillatory beam-steering device. A scanning nanophotonic phased array generates programmable light fields. That is, a phased array generates reconfigurable light fields when controlled to perform an angular scan of incident illumination synchronized with respect to modulation of the incident illumination.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 22, 2018
    Publication date: July 26, 2018
    Inventors: Gregg E. Favalora, Steven J. Spector, Benjamin F. Lane
  • Publication number: 20180175961
    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: Application
    Filed: December 16, 2017
    Publication date: June 21, 2018
    Inventors: Steven J. Spector, Michael G. Moebius, Benjamin F. Lane, Gregg E. Favalora
  • Publication number: 20180172918
    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: Application
    Filed: December 16, 2017
    Publication date: June 21, 2018
    Inventors: Benjamin F. Lane, Steven J. Spector
  • Publication number: 20180120085
    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: Application
    Filed: November 3, 2017
    Publication date: May 3, 2018
    Inventors: Benjamin F. Lane, Steven J. Spector, Alan X. Zhou, Julian A. Brown, Michael G. Moebius