Compact, High Power Ladar Technology for Angle-Angle Range and Range-Resolved Doppler Imaging Seekers

Period of Performance: 07/25/2003 - 01/26/2004

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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

Abstract

Compact, high-power, near diffraction-limited solid-state lasers are required for MDA missile defense interceptor Advanced Seekers. Range-resolved doppler imagers (RRDI) are desired because of significant advantages for precision measurement and discrimination. CTI proposes a breakthrough laser architecture - validated in proof-of-concept demonstrations - that enables development of compact, power-scalable, high peak and average-power lasers for ladar transceivers. The architecture implements: 1_ proprietary transmitter technology for achieving higher efficiencies than rod/slab architectures, with near diffraction-limited beam quality and minimal thermo-optic aberrations; 2_compact packaging and waste-heat removal potential; and 3_compatibility with versatile waveforms and coherent/direct detection. These facilitate retrofits to existing seekers and convenient P3I, near-term ladar seeker development, and advanced, coherent RRDI-based seekers. Power scaling to 100's of W is feasible, with gracefully increasing mass/volume/power budgets. Phase I performs laboratory risk-reduction demonstrations as well as evolutionary design/modeling for 100W, kHz-class MOPAs, and a 10kHz-class angle-angle-range spin-off retrofit transmitter. Phase II develops and delivers the compact spin-off device, its 100W, kHz-class breadboard instantiation, and assesses scaling the technology to much higher average power versus mass, volume, prime-power, and coherent-capable beam-quality. Phase II options/Phase III implement components to complete the compact transceiver and seeker implementation. The program leverages CTI's experience in high power lasers and flight qualified ladar systems. In addition to MDA applications, and laser radar for ground-based, aircraft-based, and space-based laser weapons, high brightness, high average power solid state lasers are required for applications in space, aircraft, and ship surveillance, harsh-environment diagnostic testing of ordinance and target systems, robotics and machine vision. Additionally, ladar techniques utilizing this class of lasers enable space asset protection, and remote sensing from space.