Magic Leap Patent | Speckle-reduction in virtual and augmented reality systems and methods
Publication Number: 20190011722
Publication Date: 2019-01-10
Applicants: Magic Leap
An imaging system includes a diffusing element configured to couple portions of a light beam back into a laser diode. The system includes a diode laser driven into a chaotic regime by a combination of a diffuser and a modulated drive current such that it emits light across a frequency spectrum having an envelope between 3 and 10 nanometers wide. The system further includes a diffusing element at least 0.1 mm to 0.5 mm away from the diode laser to couple portions of the light beam back into the laser diode. Another embodiment is directed to using the diffusing element to illuminate a flat panel display or a spatial light modulator.
Modern computing and display technologies have facilitated the development of systems for so called “mixed reality,” including “virtual reality” or “augmented reality,” experiences, wherein digitally reproduced images or portions thereof are presented to a user in a manner wherein they seem to be, or may be perceived as, real. A virtual reality, or “VR”, scenario typically involves presentation of digital or virtual image information without visibility of actual real-world visual surroundings, such that the user perceives only digital or virtual images without perceiving any light/images directly from the real world. An augmented reality, or “AR”, scenario would involve presentation of digital or virtual image information as an augmentation to perception of the actual world around the user (i.e., with visibility of other actual real-world visual input), such that the user perceives the digital or virtual content as objects (i.e., virtual objects) in the real-world environment. Accordingly, AR scenarios involve presentation of digital or virtual image information accompanied with a view to other actual real-world visual input. The human visual perception system is very complex. As a result, producing a VR or AR technology that facilitates a comfortable, natural-feeling, and rich presentation of virtual image elements amongst other virtual or real-world imagery elements is challenging.
Speckle patterns are a type of intensity pattern produced by the mutual interference of a plurality of wavefronts emanating from a coherent source. Speckling refers to a random granular pattern that can be observed when a highly coherent light beam (e.g., from a laser) is diffusely reflected at a rough surface such as a piece of paper, white paint, a display screen, or a metallic surface. This phenomenon results from the interference of different reflected portions of the incident beam with random relative optical phases. A laser speckle structure is produced every time a laser beam passes through a diffuser or reflects from a diffuse-reflecting surface. The speckle structure depends on the coherent properties of laser radiation and occurs as a result of interference of a multitude of scattered waves of random initial phase.
Speckle patterns may severely degrade the image quality of projection displays that include laser light sources. Lasers create an interference pattern due to lasers being coherent narrow band light sources. As such, the quality of an image generated using projection displays with laser light sources may degrade because the laser light tends to interfere at various points. Additionally, interference generated by diffraction at a large number of scattering particles on the projection optics (e.g., dust) will also degrade image quality. The accumulation of degradation of the quality of images from various sources results in final images that appear grainy and distorted.
Thus, there is a need to reduce the laser speckling in a virtual reality or augmented reality system.
Embodiments of the invention provide a system to reduce laser speckle by placing a diffuser in front of a laser diode to generate a chaotic laser pattern in the laser diode. The diffuser is a random pattern or pseudo random pattern surface which causes a plurality of light beam rays to bounce off the different locations of the diffused surface and scatter back into the laser diode to create a complex superposition of modes in the laser gain medium, thus initiating modal jumps in the laser resonator. These mode hops reduce coherence because each of them is linked to a slightly different emission frequency. The laser is also driven further into chaotic operation by a combination of the received optical feedback and the current modulation. In other embodiments, both the diffuser and the variation to the power from the laser act in concert to push the laser into chaos.
In one embodiment, an imagining system for reducing laser speckling includes a diode laser to generate a light beam, wherein the light beam has a wavelength within a visible spectrum. The system also includes a modulator to vary a current for driving the diode laser. The system further includes a diffuser to receive the light beam, wherein the diffuser is configured to reflect back a portion of the light beam into the laser diode as reflected light beams to generate a chaotic laser pattern.
In one or more embodiments, the modulator varies the current based at least on a second chaotic laser pattern. A variation in power of the modulator may be based at least on a structure of the diffuser. The system may also include a second diffuser disposed on an opposite side of the diffuser from the laser diode, where the second diffuser receives a second portion of the light beam. The system may also include a lens disposed on an opposite side of the diffuser from the laser diode to receive another portion of the light beam passing through the diffuser. The system may further include a multimode fiber disposed on an opposite side of the lens from the diffuser to modify a timing of the portion of the light beam as the portion of the light beam travels through the multimode fiber, the multimode fiber having a proximal end and a distal end, the distal end receiving the portion of the light beam after the portion of the light beam travels through the lens, the distal end corresponding to a light source.
In one or more embodiments, the system also includes a projection light source, a beam splitter disposed on an opposite side of the diffuser from the laser diode to receive light from the projection light source and the diffuser, and a micro-display for receiving light from the beam splitter. The micro-display may include at least one of liquid crystal on silicon or digital light processor. The system may also include a homogenizer to smooth out irregularities in the light beam to create a uniform pattern.
In another embodiment a near eye display system includes a laser diode. The system also includes a modulator coupled to the laser diode. The system further includes a diffuser optically coupled to the laser diode. Moreover, the system includes a 2D spatial light modulator optically coupled to the diffuser.
In one or more embodiments, the 2D spatial light modulator includes a Liquid Crystal on Silicon 2D spatial light modulator. The system may also include a waveguide eyepiece optically coupled to the 2D spatial light modulator. The system may also include a projection lens disposed between a microdisplay and the waveguide eyepiece.
In one or more embodiments, the waveguide eyepiece includes an incoupling grating and the projection lens is positioned to couple light into the incoupling grating. The system may also include a polarization beam splitter disposed between the projection lens and the 2D spatial light modulator. The system may also include an illumination side collimating lens positioned between the diffuser and the polarization beam splitter.
The near eye display system of claim 11, where the waveguide eyepiece includes an incoupling grating and an exit pupil expansion grating that is coupled to the incoupling grating through the waveguide eyepiece.
Further details of aspects, objects, and advantages of the invention are described below in the detailed description, drawings, and claims. Both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory, and are not intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention.