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Appl Opt. 2008 May 20;47(15):2888-96.

Design of a polarized head-mounted projection display using ferroelectric liquid-crystal-on-silicon microdisplays.

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3D Visualization and Imaging System Lab, College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


It has been a common problem in optical see-through head-mounted displays that the displayed image lacks brightness and contrast compared with the direct view of a real-world scene. This problem is aggravated in head-mounted projection displays in which multiple beam splitting and low retroreflectance of a typical retroreflective projection screen yield low luminous transfer efficiency. To address this problem, we recently proposed a polarized head-mounted projection display (p-HMPD) design where the polarization states of the light are deliberately manipulated to maximize the luminous transfer efficiency. We report the design of a compact p-HMPD prototype system using a pair of high-resolution ferroelectric liquid-crystal-on-silicon (FLCOS) microdisplays. In addition to higher resolution, the FLCOS displays have much higher optical efficiency than a transmissive-type liquid crystal display (LCD) and help to further improve the overall light efficiency and image quality. We detail the design of a compact illumination unit for the FLCOS microdisplay, also commonly referred to as the light engine, and a projection lens, both of which are key parts of the p-HMPD system. The performances of the light engine and projection lens are analyzed in detail. Finally, we present the design of a compact p-HMPD prototype using the custom-designed light engine and projection optics.

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