Passive, Active Stokes Polarization Imaging System
Small Business Information
5710 Jones Valley Drive, Huntsville, AL, 35802
AbstractThe ability for polarization to provide additional information in difficult detection scenarios has strong potential to address a variety of hypervelocity interceptor applications. The targeting of a boost phase missile requires a sensor that can both acquire the target and perform plume / hardbody discrimination. For midcourse scenarios, debris and decoy clouds, low thermal contrast, and target orientation determination can also be measured an active or passive imaging polarimeter. In re-entry phase, an imaging polarization sensor can provide aimpoint selection and orientation determination in the presence of a wake. Imaging polarimeters have the disadvantage of reduced throughput due to the polarizer transmission. When an on-demand polarizer is integrated with appropriate optics, the resulting imaging system becomes a dual-mode imager that has both conventional intensity imaging and imaging polarimeter capabilities. This dual-mode system has the advanced discrimination advantages of the imaging polarimeter while maintaining the throughput advantages of a conventional seeker, thus enabling long detection ranges as well as clutter and decoy rejection for the end game. The marriage of the on-demand polarizer with imaging polarimetry is the key innovation of this SBIR effort and if successful will represent a revolutionary advance in capability for missile seeker technology.
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