Allen J. Twarowski - Westlake Village CA
The Boeing Company - Chicago IL
A reversible thermochromic optical limiter incorporates a thermochromic material, such as a spiropyran, that has molecules present in one of two states. At ambient temperatures the material is transparent to light. Incident laser radiation causes localized heating that turns the material to a colored state, effectively limiting transmission of the laser radiation. A laser protection device may comprise an optical focusing assembly, a nonlinear thermochromic medium, and a collimating assembly. A far field image having an intrusive laser beam, is focused through the thermochromic medium. The laser beam is focused to a small volume, causing localized heating, a large increase in optical density, and absorption of the laser light. The thermochromic medium has a fast response time over a broad wavelength band and returns to its transparent state when the laser beam subsides. The far field image is focused to a much larger volume so that it does not cause significant heating or change in optical density.