TUNABLE SINGLE-FREQUENCY Nd:YAG LASERS FOR COHERENT LIDAR

Period of Performance: 03/01/1988 - 03/01/1990

$492K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Schwartz Electro-optics, Inc.
3404 N. Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, FL 32804
Principal Investigator

Abstract

THE USE OF LASER RADAR, OR LIDAR, IN A STRATEGIC DEFENSE SYSTEM IS ALMOST A CERTAINTY GIVEN THE LARGE RANGES AND HIGH RESOLUTIONS REQUIRED OF SPACE-BASED SENSORS ENGAGED IN SURVEILLANCE, ACQUISITION AND TRACKING. OF THE VARIOUS CLASSES OF LASERS, THOSE EMPLOYING SOLID STATE MATERIALS ARE PARTICULARLY ATTRACTIVE FOR SPACE-BASED LIDAR SYSTEMS BECAUSE OF THE RELATIVELY HIGH POWER OUTPUT PER UNIT VOLUME AND VIRTUALLY UNLIMITED SHELF LIFE OF THE ACTIVE MEDIUM. DESPITE ALL THE ADVANTAGES MENTIONED, THERE REMAINS ONE MAJOR PROBLEM WITH THE USE OF A ND SOLID STATE LASER FOR STRATEGIC DEFENSE LIDAR APPLICATIONS. THE AVERAGE-POWER-OUTPUT REQUIREMENTS FOR MANY PROPOSED LIDAR SYSTEMS, IN PARTICULAR FOR THE MISSION OF MID-COURSE DISCRIMINATION, ARE CONSIDERABLY HIGHER THAN THOSE DEMONSTRATED TO DATE FROM ANY ND LASER, OR ANY SOLID STATE LASER SYSTEM IN GENERAL. THE EFFORT WILL CONTINUE TO ADVANCE THE TECHNOLOGY OF TUNABLE, SINGLE-FREQUENCY ND LASERS, A STEP TOWARDS MAKING THE ND LASER SUITABLE FOR SPACE-BASED COHERENT LIDARS. THE WORK WILL CONCENTRATE ON THE DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF DIODE-LASER-PUMPED, CW, LOW-POWER LASERS, SUITABLE FOR USE AS LOCAL OSCILLATORS IN A HETERODYNE DETECTION SYSTEM OR AS THE MASTER OSCILLATOR IN A LIDAR TRANSMITTER.