Dynamically Tunable, High Power Electro-Optic Microchip Laser Development for Hybrid LIDAR-RADAR

Period of Performance: 01/10/2003 - 07/10/2003

$69.9K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

F&H Applied Science Assoc., Inc.
P.O. Box 853
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Detection and tracking of missiles in the boost and midcourse phase through clouds, and the discrimination between missiles and decoys is crucial to our nation's missile defense system. The goal of the proposed program is to develop a dynamically tunable, high power, electro-optic microchip laser that will enable a more sensitive detection method, a hybrid LIDAR-RADAR. This technique combines the most advantageous features of RADAR and LADAR by impressing a millimeter-wave modulation (RADAR) on an optical carrier (LIDAR). In a conventional LIDAR system the intense scattering from the surrounding environment (clutter) prevents the use of coherent optical detection schemes and masks the image. The modulation on the light in LIDAR-RADAR allows for more sensitive and coherent detection of the microwave envelope (RADAR). This method has proven successful in underwater optical imaging systems. This project will show that the same advantages may be applied to atmospheric LADAR and will develop a dynamically tunable, high power, electro-optic microchip laser for the implementation of a hybrid LIDAR-RADAR system, which is the central focus of this effort. The viability of the approach and the electro-optic microchip laser has been demonstrated through preliminary experimentation. The expected performance of this hybrid LIDAR-RADAR far exceeds currently available LADAR. The devices we propose will be of unique benefit to our nation's missile defense system and for underwater target detection of mines and submarines, as well as for medical imaging.