Short Pulse Transmitter for Focal Plane Array Base Imaging Ladar
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
3-D imaging ladar offers new capabilities to military/commercial markets. However, imaging transceivers often utilize push-broom/whiskbroom image acquisition with costly, complex mechanical scanners and potential image distortion due to target/sensormotion. Architectures with single-shot 3-D imaging focal plane arrays (FPAs) address these challenges but require higher pulse energy lasers to keep the laser irradiance per pixel constant. To this end, CTI proposes an innovative high pulse energy laserthat maintains average power, minimizes cost and size impacts, and is optimized for low repetition-rates ~10-30Hz. Phase I demonstrated key aspects of this robust, highly manufacturable eye-safe wavelength design: (1) a nonlinear optical pulse compressorproducing 1-2ns pulses for enhanced range resolution and speckle diversity, and (2) the path to an efficient, exceptionally compact configuration. Longer pulse systems can provide few-cm range-precision with wide dynamic range receivers and adequate SNR.However, both may be problematic with emerging ladar FPA technology and range-resolution is intrinsically difficult to extract from longer pulses. As such, the proposed short pulse laser maximally exploits near/longer-term ladar FPAs. The laser canutilize laser diode pumping for sustained operation, or low-cost flash-lamps for limited rep-rate/shot operation. Phase II delivers a brass-board transmitter for transceiver testing. CTI's experience in flight-qualified ladar systems provides leverageand a timely path to market.
Small Business Information at Submission:
COHERENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
655 Aspen Ridge Drive Lafayette, CO 80026
Number of Employees: