NIR LIDAR for Hazard Mitigation

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNL08AA05C
Agency Tracking Number: 065868
Amount: $599,981.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2006
Solicitation Topic Code: A1.06
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
1350 Edgmont Avenue, Suite 2300, Chester, PA, 19013-3940
DUNS: 101086825
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Richard Billmers
 Principal Investigator
 (610) 499-7529
Business Contact
 Mary Ludwig
Title: Director of Engineering
Phone: (610) 330-0777
Research Institution
We have investigated the feasibility of employing a hazard detection and mitigation system based upon a polarization discriminating range-gated Lidar system. This dual use system will be capable of both imaging targets in low visibility scenarios, such as smoke, fog, haze, light rain, and low light levels, and providing an early warning of in-flight hazards, primarily icing conditions in clouds. The polarization discriminating optical system and accompanying image processing software are capable of differentiating highly depolarizing surfaces from those that contribute little to depolarization. Examples of this type of differentiation include water and ice phases in clouds and hard-target surfaces surrounded by an aerosol particulate media. The NIR Lidar system is designed to operate around 1.5 m for maximum eye-safety, even when used from the ground. Major components of the Lidar unit include a laser transmitter, a fast gated detector, and polarization switching components. The performance of this type of system has been demonstrated in the Phase I project in laboratory experiments using custom built rain and fog generating chambers. Both image enhancement of a hard target and detection differing depolarization ratios were demonstrated. Backscattered noise from obscurants is greatly reduced by the fast-gated camera system, and a narrowband optical filter provides additional noise rejection. The NIR Lidar system can be easily integrated with a database of common object types for identification of hard targets, such as obstacles on a runway. Illuminated NIR imagery is ideal for providing images of hard targets, as object detail is very near that seen with a visible camera, unlike FLIR (forward-looking infrared) imagery, and the performance is equivalent in day or night conditions.

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

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