PORTLAND, Ore. Texas Instruments has unveiled a platform designed to ease the development of spatial light modulation applications on digital light processors (DLP).
The Discovery 4000 development kit works with TI's DLP chip sets used in digital projectors for cinema and projection TVs. As TI's customer base shifts to optical communications and imaging applications, the tiny microelectromechanical system (MEMS) mirrors are used to shuttle different light wavelengths.
"DLP is the only mass-produced MEMS device that can address applications using UV, near IR and visible wavelengths of light," claimed Arun Chhabra, TI's business development manager.
Applications include maskless lithography, optical networking, 3-D projection, metrology, spectroscopy and medical imaging. DLPs are already being used by several manufacturers for maskless pc-board lithography machines that churn out hundreds of PCBs per hour without using physical masks.
Reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexers (Roadm) are also turning to DLPs to remotely switch individual wavelengths carrying data channels. For instance, Nistica Inc. (Bridgewater, N.J.) recently announced a Roadm application using DLPs.
DLPs are also being used for medical imaging. Luminetx Corp. (Memphis, Tenn.) uses a DLP chip to project the image of veins onto skin in real time. An infrared light source illuminates the skin, but is absorbed only by the veins. An IR sensor allows the device to locate the veins and the DLP projects the image onto the skin.
Other medical devices are combining infrared, visible and ultraviolet wavelengths to image under the skin. Three-dimensional metrology devices are also beginning to use DLPs to measure the precise sizes of objects.
OEMs using the Discovery 4000 development kit can choose from DLP's ranging in resoluiton from 1,024-by-768 up to 1,920-by-1,080 pixels.