Innovative Wave Front Control for Airborne Optical Sensors

Period of Performance: 08/28/1998 - 05/28/1999

$100K

Phase 1 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-optical (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 multifunctionality, 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 develop wave front control algorithms that will allow for the following specific applications: 1) dynamic control of a sensor's field of view and spatial beam multiplexing, 2) dynamic far-field beam shaping for laser designation and laser imaging applications, 3) dynamic aberrations compensation for passive and active sensors, and 4) simultaneous operations of these functions for a common aperture. In Phase I we will concentrate on algorithm development and experimental designs. Our approach is based on both conventional and non-conventional wave front control. Conventional wave front control is applicable for requirements such as beam steering and aberration compensation. Non-conventional wave front control is applicable for far-field beam focusing and shaping, as well as field-of-view control. Our approach for solving the non-conventional wave front control problem is to set up and solve a multi-dimensional minimization problem. The justification and anticipated success of this approach is based largely on the success f similar minimization problems demonstrated by phase retrieval research and wave front amplitude compensation research.