SBIR Phase I: Fast and Accurate Laser Distance Metrology

Award Information
Agency:
National Science Foundation
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$100,000.00
Award Year:
2009
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
0912927
Agency Tracking Number:
0912927
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
Bridger Photonics, INC
112 E. Lincoln, Bozeman, MT, 59715
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
788293244
Principal Investigator:
Randy Reibel
PhD
(406) 920-1339
reibel@bridgerphotonics.com
Business Contact:
Randy Reibel
PhD
(406) 920-1339
reibel@bridgerphotonics.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
This Small Business Innovative Research Phase I research project will demonstrate the feasibility of a high-precision optical metrology system that meets a current market need for extremely precise distance measurements with rapid update rates. The project will actively stabilize newly developed Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) tunable Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers (VCSEL) that can be rapidly tuned mode-hop-free over 6 terahertz. Using a Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) technique, this system has the potential to reach 25 micrometer resolutions and sub-10-nanometer precisions in real time. Extensive experience in laser stabilization will help to overcome the daunting challenge of stabilizing and linearizing the frequency sweep of the VCSEL sources, which inherently exhibit significant frequency noise. These VCSELs, however, offer sweep rates 100-1,000 times faster than competing technologies and would therefore enable the same enhancement in the system?s update rate. At short ranges, the system can be used for industrial metrology and precision manufacturing. At medium ranges, the system can be used for navigational aids including pilot assistance for landing in brownout conditions. This application has the significant potential to save the lives of airmen and passengers in unprepared landing zones. At long ranges, the system can be used to accurately position sparse aperture telescopes and formations of nano-satellites. This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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