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Optics and Coatings for High Energy Laser Applications


OBJECTIVE: High-performance optical substrates and coatings and the industrial base and expertise required to develop and produce same are essential ubiquitous elements for continued successful development of high-energy lasers, sensors, countermeasures, and other optical systems for military purposes. Proposed here is the development of processes and method for production of coatings and substrates for high-energy lasers in particular and specifically for Diode Pumped Alkali Laser Systems (DPALS) which are of near-term interest. DESCRIPTION: MDA interest in compact, high-performance lasers will be advanced by availability of durable, affordable, and readily available optical coatings and substrates; to the end the following focus areas are delineated. Focus Areas: 1) Optical coatings and substrates resistant to the effects of contamination and the presence of 100m-class particles at temperatures on the order of 500 C and intensities of greater than or equal to 40 kW/cm2. 2) Candidate optical coatings and substrates must be resistant to saturated Rb(v)-He(g) mixtures at temperatures on the order of 500 C and intensities of greater than or equal to 40 kW/cm2. a) Coatings must be capable of being applied to high quality substrates such as sapphire. b) The coating must transmit maximum and reflect minimum amount of light at D1 and D2 wavelengths of Rb. c) Coatings must be capable of being subjected to saturated Rb(v)-He(g) mixtures at temperatures on the order of 500 C and intensities of greater than or equal to 40 kW/cm2 without damage or failure. d) The coating should be resistant not only to Rubidium vapor but also its oxides and hydroxides. 3) Development of new processes for production of high-quality sapphire windows with extremely low impurity levels. 4) Development of processes for control of bonding and thicknesses coatings on substrates such as sapphire. PHASE I: Demonstrate in Phase I through modeling, analysis, and/or proof-of-principle experiments of critical elements for the proposed technology for further investigation in Phase II. Phase I work should clearly validate the viability of the proposed technology. Phase I will culminate in a CDR-level design. Phase I should also result in a clear technology development plan, schedule, transition risk assessment, and requirements document. Offerors are highly encouraged to work with High Energy Laser (HEL) system integrators and/or their respective sub-system contractors to help ensure applicability of the proposed effort and the viability of the technology for transition. PHASE II: The Phase II objective is to validate a scalable and producible technology approach that MDA users and prime contractors can transition in phase III to their unique laser application. Validate the feasibility of the Phase I concept by development and demonstration of witness samples that will be tested to ensure compliance with requirements. Validation would include, but not be limited to, system simulations, operation in test-beds, or operation in a demonstration subsystem. The goal of the Phase II effort is to demonstrate technology viability. A partnership with a current or potential supplier of MDA systems, subsystems or components is highly desirable and should include testing of samples. The final report should include but is not limited to the methods, results, and shortcomings of claims in support of success of the candidate systems for the corresponding focus areas. PHASE III: In this phase, the contractor will apply the innovations demonstrated in the first two phases to one or more MDA systems, subsystems, or components. The objective of Phase III is to demonstrate the scalability of the developed technology, transition the component technology to the MDA system integrator or payload contractor, mature it for operational insertion, and demonstrate the technology in an operational level environment. COMMERCIALIZATION: The contractor will pursue commercialization of the various technologies developed in Phase II for potential commercial uses in other DOD high energy laser systems, missile windows; and other systems requiring high quality sapphire windows/ optical coatings.
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