Wide-angle Non-mechanical Steering Development

Period of Performance: 09/26/2003 - 09/26/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Boulder Nonlinear Systems, Inc.
Principal Investigator


Development of a non-mechanical scanner for laser radar seekers is a difficult problem, because high speed, wide angle, high resolution and large aperture are competing requirements. A workable solution is to combine a few techniques to decouple the requirements. By using this approach, coarse and fine-angle steerers are combined to provide the coverage and accuracy needed for the application. The techniques proposed for the coarse and fine angle steerers have the ability to scale to large apertures, high power and provide fast response without greatly complicating the system design. The scalable beamsteering architecture makes use of liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) assemblies, which have proven to be a very economical and manufacturable technology. In Phase I, Boulder Nonlinear Systems (BNS) will demonstrate the beamsteering concept and work with Coherent Technologies Incorporated (CTI) to integrate the technology into a staring-array laser radar seeker design. In Phase II, BNS and CTI will build and demonstrate a breadboard system. The ability to non-mechanically point an optical system is important in a variety of applications including free space optical communications, remote sensing and weapon guidance. Non-mechanical systems have the potential to be more accurate, smaller, lighter and less expensive than systems that use gimbals to position the beam. At this time, such attributes are considered benefits, but future deployment of optical systems in small airborne or space-based platforms will eventually require these improvements.