Development of Efficient, Diode-Pumped 3-5 Micron Oscillators for Remote Sensing

Period of Performance: 05/08/1997 - 08/08/1999

$749K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Coherent Technologies, Inc.
135 S. Taylor Avenue,
Louisville, CO 80027
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

Spectrally and spatially coherent, energy scaleable, tunable mid-IR sources remain elusive. Solid-state lasers do not tune continuously over the 2 to 5 micron wavelength range and laser diodes are typically cryogenically-cooled, optically-pumped, and have limited coherence. The Optical Parametric Oscillator (OPO) laser-pumped frequency converter has emerged as the most viable technology for many applications. In Phase I, CTI designed and is fabricating a CW Master OPO and a pulsed Slave OPO utilizing quasi-phase-matched nonlinear optical crystals for use in a first-of-its-kind coherent-detection lidar transceiver. These innovation designs are departures from existing practice and are optimized for long-range (10 to 100 km), highly sensitive (ppm) optical remote sensing. The sensor is desigend for single pixel atmospheric molecule detection, but can be adapted to measurements of aerosols, winds, temperature, solid reflectance spectra, and images. In Phase I, CTI developed a programmable, field-adaptable, absolute laser frequency reference and control design which does not require a target species sample. The absoluate frequency reference when coupled to the master-slave optical architecture, allows power scaling for a wide variety of applications without major redesigns. Coupling these designs to CTI's turnkey, flight system development expertise will facilitate new multispectral electro-optic systems. In Phase II, CTI will deliver a mid-IR differential Absorption Lidear (DIAL) transceiver.