Sub-aperture based EO imaging systems

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
MZA Associates Corporation
2021 Girard SE, Suite 150, Albuquerque, NM, 87106
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Matt Whiteley
Program Manager
(937) 684-4100
Business Contact:
Cathy McGinnis
Contracts Administrator
(505) 515-3069
Research Institution:
Battelle Memorial Institute
Kim Hildreth
505 King Ave
Columbus, OH, 43201
(614) 424-3689
Domestic nonprofit research organization
MZA proposes design, integration, testing, and simulation of electro-optical (EO) imaging and computer processing hardware for operating a phased array consisting of 7-12 subapertures. Our implementation of image processing on a graphics processor units (GPUs) for subaperture piston control will be upgraded and computer hardware will be built in Phase II to operate at control rates exceeding 1 kHz. This processor will be coupled with a flexible EO imaging apparatus using a single spatial light modulator (SLM) and imaging camera to demonstrate a fully-functional real-time phased array imaging capable of high-resolution imaging (at least 128 x 128 pixels). The EO/GPU imaging hardware will be formally tested at the University of Dayton (UD) Ladar and Optical Communications Institute (LOCI). MZA and UD personnel will test the system under varying target imaging and atmospheric conditions with flexible subaperture geometries. MZA will develop a WaveTrain wave-optics simulation of the EO subaperture hardware the UD testbed system which allows for future technology evaluation of sparse-aperture array imaging in tactical laser applications as well as virtual integration of technologies into UD’s testbed. In addition to UD, MZA has teamed with Battelle Memorial Institute making use of Battelle’s GPU technology for rapid parallel image processing. BENEFIT: A practical sub-aperture phasing system which compensates for atmospheric turbulence will allow the imaging and beam-projection capability normally provided by a large monolithic aperture to be realized with a distributed array of small sub-apertures. The array will be nearly conformal to the aircraft surface and will not require major structural modifications to the airframe. The sub-aperture phasing system can be coupled with transmitted laser phasing to direct multiple lasers through the sub-apertures, yielding an integrated receiver/transmitter configuration. GPU image processing technology enables sub-aperture phasing and permits high frame-rate operation. The GPUs may also be used to host candidate automatic target recognition processing integrated with the phasing control and image enhancement. Such a system will support high-resolution electro-optical imaging, laser illumination, designation, and weapon applications in addition to compensated free-space laser communications. The sub-apertures can work independently, in multiple groups, or collectively in the array for multi-functional purposes on military or commercial aircraft. The real-time imaging capability tested in Phase II will provide enabling technology for implementing an imaging function within DARPA’s Adaptive Photonic Phase Locked Elements (APPLE) program.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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