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Low Level Signal Detection for Passive Electro-Optical Space-based Surveillance

Description:

OBJECTIVE: Conceive and develop methods and techniques for optimizing signal detection and noise reduction for passive Signature Exploitation of lambertian scattered light modulated by vibrating surfaces with intended application from space. DESCRIPTION: Achieving space-based surveillance requires detecting not only with a limited number of photons but also with potentially small fractional modulation detectable from orbit, including geosynchronous. Present understanding requires direct coupled sensors within a reasonable cost, and detection of small fractional photon modulation levels requires sensitive detectors with minimal added detector noise, which can severely limit detection. This requires a detailed understanding of the physics of the detected signal on orbit and the small modulation of the detected signal contained therein, while simultaneously minimizing all noise sources, especially in the first few stages of signal amplification. Metadata such as sensor calibration information, sensor characteristics, sensor geometry corresponding to each data collection, and so forth, are relevant to the observational description. As modulation information from sources with small fractional modulation is sought, the detection physics becomes increasingly relevant. The Air Force Research Laboratory has a limited information database on these issues, and needs a more complete understanding of how to proceed. This STTR topic solicits innovative approaches for optimizing this type of detector for orbits from LEO to GEO for lambertian scattered light with small fractional modulation, and especially for minimizing sources of noise. PHASE I: The contractor shall define, model, and design innovative methods and techniques for optimizing signal detection and noise reduction for passive Signature Exploitation of Lambertian scattered light modulated by vibrating surfaces with intended application from space, but with other applications Air Force wide. PHASE II: In Phase II of this STTR effort, the contractor will design, verify, construct, test, and demonstrate a prototype detector to collect and assemble various types of satellite relevant data. The contractor shall implement or simulate a prototype sensor design that shall improve substantially on current state of the art detection. PHASE III: This technology can remotely monitor ground and surface vibrations from a distance, with a goal of detection from space, autonomous robotic vehicles, unpiloted aerial vehicles, and objects or vehicles that are well-characterized prior to use. REFERENCES: 1. Pereira, W., Clark, F., Jeong, L., Noyes, B., Noah, P., Pacleb, C., Dalrymple, S., Westphal, A., Hypertemporal Imaging Diffuse Modulation (HTI-DM) Experiment, AFRL-RV-HA-TR-2011-1010, 28 February 2011. 2. Hay, J.R., Kielkopf, J.F., Clark, F.O., Non-Contact Stand-off Optical Sensing of Cable Vibrations for Monitoring Structural Health of the William H. Harsah Bridge, CSX Eastern Parkway Overpass, and The Sherman-Minton Ohio River Bridge at Louisville, KY, USA, Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Experimental Mechanics (ICEM15) (Porto, Portugal) July 2012.
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