A number of spectral imagers using acousto-optic tunable filters (AOTFs) operating from the UV to the longwave infrared (LWIR) using KDP,
crystals to cover different spectral regions have been developed. In the LWIR there is a lack of high quality acousto-optic (AO) materials. Mercurous halide (
) crystals are highly anisotropic with a high AO figure of merit due to slow acoustic velocities and high photoelastic constants and are transparent over a wide spectral region from 0.35 to
and from 0.4 to
. AO modulators, deflectors, and AOTFs based on these crystals can operate over a wide spectral range. Single crystals of these materials are being grown and some prototype devices have been fabricated. Results are presented from device characterization for an AO cell fabricated in
based on longitudinal acoustic mode propagation. This device was very useful in demonstrating the AO interaction as well as soundness of the transducer bonding technique. Acoustic phase velocity is calculated and measured, diffraction efficiency is obtained from experiments, and the AO figure of merit of the sample is evaluated.
© 2009 Optical Society of America