High Power Quantum Cascade Lasers for Infrared Countermeasure Applications
Small Business Information
1801 Maple Avenue, Evanston, IL, 60201
AbstractCurrent infrared countermeasure systems are limited by the size and weight of their jamming transmitter. Laser systems based on nonlinear conversion are intrinsically large and inefficient compared to diode lasers. A major hurdle in developing mid-infrared diode lasers has been the realization of near room temperature operation, which allows the compact size benefit of this technology to be realized. The quantum cascade laser has already been demonstrated as a potential room temperature pulsed source of Band IV radiation. However, high average power development requires substantial improvements in both internal laser efficiency and packaging. The goal of this project is to address both issues systematically in order to achieve 500 mW continuous wave power and >4% power conversion efficiency for near ambient temperature operation. In addition, based on the performance achieved, the scaling of total output power to a multi-Watt level will be investigated.BENEFITS: As a result of the natural small size and high operating temperature of quantum cascade laser technology, we expect a significant reduction in transmitter size, weight, and power consumption compared to existing OPO technology in infrared countermeasure systems. Transmitters based on this design can be mounted in a smaller gimbal mount, allowing for faster tracking and jamming ability. In addition, as semiconductor technology has the potential for large-scale manufacturability, this technology (based on mature InP technology) is expected to become significantly cheaper to implement in the long run. Besides countermeasures, high power, room temperature sources also have potential application for free-space optical networks and remote chemical sensing. The wavelength range we are developing has excellent atmospheric propagation and the high power and brightness will allow for significant range enhancement over existing technologies.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.