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High Efficiency kW-class 1550 nm Steerable Diffraction-Limited Laser Diode Arrays for Energy Web Dominance

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: 140D0422C0004
Agency Tracking Number: D21T-29-0059
Amount: $224,989.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: HR001121S0007-29
Solicitation Number: HR001121S0007.T
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-01-19
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-03-17
Small Business Information
41 Aero Camino
Goleta, CA 93117-3104
United States
DUNS: 191741292
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jenna Campbell
 (805) 967-4900
Business Contact
 Paul Leisher
Phone: (805) 967-4900
Research Institution
 University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
 Kent Choquette
1901 S. First St., Suite A
Champaign, IL 61820-7406
United States

 (217) 377-6820
 Nonprofit College or University

DARPA and the US Department of Defense are interested in technologies which can enable a wireless energy web comprising multiple nodes to enhance military capabilities.  Wireless power transmission is difficult to scale to relevant powers and distances due to poor system efficiency.  For example, as transmission distances increase there is a severe reduction in system efficiency; at distances of ~1000 m, the current state-of-the-art efficiency is limited to just ~1%.  Optical power beaming is an excellent candidate for addressing this technology gap; however, specific challenges facing this technology include eye safety, the conversion efficiency of the transmitter, efficient transmission over long distances, and atmospheric aberrations.  Nearly diffraction-limited high power lasers operating around 1550 nm are required to overcome these challenges, however such lasers are inherently inefficient due to the cascaded diode-pumped fiber or solid-state laser brightness conversion process.  It would be ideal if suitably bright, efficient, and powerful diode lasers could be used directly, thus eliminating the low efficiency brightness conversion process and enabling high (~50%) efficiency.  We propose the development of extremely high efficiency semiconductor lasers which are directly suitable for power beaming without the need for inefficient brightness conversion.  Our highly disruptive approach seeks to demonstrate a phase-locked diffraction-limited direct diode laser array with total output power >1 kW (scalable to >50 kW) and wall-plug efficiency >50% at an emission wavelength of 1550 nm. 

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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