Innovative Wave Front Control for Aerospace Optical Sensors

Period of Performance: 09/27/1999 - 09/27/2001

$500K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Mission Research Corp.
735 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
Institution POC

Research Topics

Abstract

Electro-optic (EO) sensors on future aircraft will be used for targeting and situational awareness and will be required to have a number of demanding technical characteristics. These characteristics include multi-functionality, wide angle operation, open architecture design, and low cost. A key technical challenge to achieving these goals is the development of inexpensive, high degree of freedom optical wave front control devices, and the development of effective algorithms for controlling these devices. We propose to experimentally demonstrate the wave front control algorithms developed in Phase I of this effort. This demonstration will be a hardware-based experiment in which the following applications will be validated: 1) dynamic far-field beam shaping for laser designation and laser imaging applications, 2) dynamic aberrations compensation for passive and active sensors, and 3) simultaneous operations of these functions for a common aperture. In Phase I we concentrated on algorithm development and an experimental design to demonstrate feasibility. Our approach is based on the innovative wave front control algorithms developed and demonstrated using a detailed simulation in the Phase I effort. The justification and anticipated success of the experimental demonstration of the functions listed above is based on the success and risk reduction of the Phase I effort.