Compact, Efficient, and Robust Eyesafe Ladar Transmitter

Period of Performance: 12/11/2003 - 06/10/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Coherent Technologies, Inc.
135 S. Taylor Avenue,
Louisville, CO 80027
Principal Investigator


The Army has identified a need for a laser transmitter for the NetFires Loitering Attack Missile and Precision Attack Missile programs, and for similar ladar systems in expendable munitions. CTI has performed a detailed trade study which shows that current 1 or 1.5 micron laser architectures (based on bulk Ho, Er and Tm lasers, OPOs/OPAs and Raman lasers) are poorly-matched to Army requirements for transmitter cost, efficiency, footprint and performance ( 5-10W, 20-30kHz, 5-20ns, 0.3-1.0 mJ). Single-mode or large-mode-area double-clad fiber lasers are attractive for efficiency, cost and packaging, but the peak power levels required for Netfires are too close to limits set by damage and parasitic nonlinear processes. Our trade study, conducted to meet Army efficiency and packaging goals, has led us to a novel patent-pending fiber-based laser architecture that retains the advantages of single mode fiber, but enables robust scaling to peak power levels required for the Army application. The architecture provides a clear path to a simple, compact and robust system with low parts count and high wallplug efficiency. A preliminary concept for the rugged prototype transmitter has been developed, leveraging off CTI's widespread experience with rugged flight-qualified laser systems and mature optical telecom components at 1.5mm, as well as recent demonstrations and parallel programs. Phase I will conduct validation demonstrations of the ladar transmitter and develop a preliminary design for the prototype transmitter. Phase II will develop and test the prototype, and deliver it to the Army for testing.