Hybrid Direct-Detect and Coherent Flash Ladar Receivers for Enhanced Sensitivity and Target Discrimination
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AbstractAerius is proposing the extension of our demonstrated 1064 nm imaging Flash Ladar optical preamplifier pixel arrays (OPPAs) toward the develop and implementation of a hybrid coherent and direct-detection Ladar receiver for greatly enhanced detection sensitivity, target tracking and target discrimination. The OPPA consists of a 2-D array of Vertical-Cavity Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers (VCSOAs) that provide high optical gain and low noise to increase the sensitivity of PIN photodetectors to near-photon-counting levels. Aerius' approach leverages the OPPA's compatibility with advanced direct-detection and coherent Ladar receiver technology. The OPPA offers a direct-detection input referred noise equivalent power of 3 photons while the inherent stimulated emission optical amplification process is consistent with requirements for extension of the approach to coherent detection. The OPPA operates at room temperature, utilizes mature PIN detector array technology, and enables system performance improvements while reducing system cost, weight, and power. In Phase I Aerius will demonstrate hybrid direct- and coherent-detection using our existing OPPA prototypes. In Phase II Aerius will demonstrate a VCSOA-based OPPA hybrid imaging array receiver of at least 32x32 pixels.
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