A High-Speed Electro-Optic Phase Compensator for Aero-Optic Applications

Period of Performance: 04/27/2006 - 04/27/2008

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Crystal Research, Inc.
48501 Warm Springs Boulevard, Suite 103
Fremont, CA 94539
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Airborne lasers undergo extreme disturbances due to shock waves, turbulent shear layers, and regions of separated flow, caused by the aircraft motion. The net effect of rapidly-varying wavefront turbulence produces degraded beam quality and decreased laser energy-on-target. Unfortunately, progress in adaptive-optic correction has been essentially non-existent because that the required spatial and temporal frequencies are at least an order of magnitude greater than those presently correctable by adaptive-optic systems for the atmospheric-propagation case. In this SBIR program, Crystal Research, Inc. (CRI) proposes to develop a high-speed electro-optic phase compensator for aero-optic aberration corrections. The proposed device is based on high-speed two-dimensional (2-D) electro-optic phase modulation in a novel crystal that has an electro-optic coefficient 20 times larger than that of conventional electro-optic crystals such as LiNbO3. In Phase I, we have experimentally demonstrated a large electro-optic phase modulation with an ultra-fast response time of 1 microsecond. In Phase II, we will fabricate, test, and deliver a fully packaged high-speed two-dimensional electro-optic phase compensator for high bandwidth aero-optic applications. The Phase II prototype is capable of performing high bandwidth (>100 kHz) wavefront sensing and distortion correction without using any mechanical moving part.