High-Pulse-Rate IR Source for Improved DIAL Sensitivity

Period of Performance: 08/01/2001 - 08/01/2003

$730K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Q Peak, Inc.
135 South Road Array
Bedford, MA 01730
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Q-Peak, Inc. proposes to develop a rapidly and broadly tunable, high-average-power, all-solid-state IR source suitable for use as a DIAL system transmitter. The source is based on the combination of a Nd-doped pulsed pump laser and optical parametric oscillators (OPO). The laser source, a compact, quasi-cw diode-pumped, 1 kHz pulse-repetition-rate, passively Q-switched Nd:YLF laser, will pump a tandem OPO system consisting of an angle-tuned, 1.5-3.6 micron KTA OPO, and a pump-tuned, 3-5 micron and 8-12 micron CdSe OPO pumped by the KTA OPO idler. In the Phase I effort we demonstrated an IR-source consisting of (1) an efficient, 1 kHz repetition rate, 1-micron laser source generating nsec pulses at average power of 8 W; (2) a tunable KTA OPO with a combined signal and idler average power of 2.6 W at a 1 kHz repetition rate; (3) a KTA OPO idler-pumped CdSe OPO. Phase II development will emphasize technology that is ultimately rugged, lightweight and efficient in terms of prime-power use, and can be employed for a soldier-portable chemical-weapons sensor. At the completion of the Phase II effort we will deliver to the Army a laboratory prototype. The proposed IR Laser Source will enhance selectivity and sensitivity of chemical agent identification in a low cost standoff detector. In the commercial sector the applications include wide-area pollution monitoring, process control and general scientific investigations.