High-Reliability IRCM Supercontinuum Laser with Fiber for Transporting over 10m on an Aircraft

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
Award Id:
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
AF 09-212
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
647 Spring Valley Drive, Ann Arbor, MI, 48105
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Michael Freeman
Director of Research
(734) 420-0190
Business Contact:
Mohammed Islam
Founder and CTO
(734) 353-9333
Research Institution:
An innovative infrared counter-measures system that directs heat-seeking missiles to less vulnerable points on the aircraft requires transporting mid-IR light over distances of 10m, an efficient, reliable, cost-effective light source, and scaling the output power toward a kilowatt. Omni Sciences, Inc. (OSI) has developed a fiber-based Mid-Infrared Super-continuum Laser (MIRSCL) that generates broadband super-continuum (SC) covering simultaneously bands I, II and IV. Since the MIRSCL has no moving parts and uses COTS technologies from the telecom industry, it has the potential to be highly reliable, low maintenance and cost effective. The fiber used to generate the SC can be separated from the pump laser unit and then be used to transport the light over distances of more than 10m. The MIRSCL wall-plug efficiency can be increased by incorporating an efficient thulium-doped fiber amplifier into the pump unit. Finally, the output of several MIRSCL's can be spatially multiplexed into a multi-mode fiber to scale the output power toward hundreds of watts. The goal in Phase I is to show technical feasibility of an increased efficiency MIRSCL with the SC generation/transport fiber separated out, and to show the first step toward scaling by doubling the output power by spatially multiplexing two MIRSCL outputs. BENEFIT: Omni Sciences intends to be an OEM supplier of mid-infrared lasers for military and civilian applications. Particular applications that benefit from mid-infrared super-continuum sources include IRCM and chemical sensing, and both applications have significant markets. For example, the laser portion of the market for IRCM protection is estimated to be $3B for US military fixed and rotary winged aircraft and $680M for US commercial airlines. Also, the worldwide chemical agent detector revenues are forecast to grow from $282M in 2007. Other markets that can be served by the mid-infrared laser technology include bio-medical diagnostics and therapeutics, particularly in dermatology and cardiology. The MIRSCL light source would provide the Air Force with a low-cost, light-weight, highly reliable platform for implementing an innovative IRCM architecture that effectively places a decoy heat signature at less vulnerable locations on an aircraft, such as the tips of the wings. In the proposed program, the MIRSCL wall-plug efficiency will be increased by a factor of 2-3x, the SC generation fiber will also serve as a transmission fiber over distances of more than 10m, and the output power will be increased by spatially multiplexing a number of MIRSCL outputs. The result will be a MIRSCL prototype with power, bandwidth and form factor appropriate for aircraft and that can operate within the electrical and physical limits available aboard military aircraft.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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