Development of a Scintillation-Insensitive Curvature Wavefront Sensor

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Missile Defense Agency
Contract: F2960103M0247
Agency Tracking Number: 031-0716
Amount: $69,848.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
580 Division St., Campbell, CA, 95008
DUNS: 001806665
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 J. Elon Graves
 Vice President, Optical H
 (408) 583-1143
Business Contact
 Andy Mazzarell
Title: President
Phone: (408) 583-1111
Research Institution
Wave-front sensors are key elements of adaptive optics systems that compensate for aberrations encountered by a laser beam as it propagates through the atmosphere. Removing such aberrations are critical for applications such as high energy laser weapons,high bandwidth laser communication systems and precise target designators. AOptix has previously developed a wavefront sensor that directly measures wave-front curvature. Measuring wave-front curvature instead of the traditional practice of measuringwave-front slope offers significant advantages including immunity to scintillation and phase branch points (thus avoiding the need for wavefront reconstructors), absence of calibration and offset problems, higher efficiency and the use of one pixel persubaperture. When combined with a curvature deformable mirror, further benefits can be realized in the overall system performance. The proposed work will develop a novel curvature sensing wave-front sensor that is immune to branch-point errors, requires noreference calibration and will enable adaptive optic systems to operate with closed-loop bandwidth exceeding 1 kHz. The development of high speed wavefront sensors for adaptive optics has numerous potential commercial and military applications. Examplesof such applications are:1) High energy laser beam control for precise cutting, machining, surface heat treatment, marking and surface ablation, both in manufacturing and medical applications.2) Laser communications through turbulent media.3) Low energy laser beam control for scanning devices such as large format laser printers and 3D digitizers.4) Focus and aberration control for confocal scanning microscopes.Applications 1) and 2) benefit from high speed, due to the intrinsic rapidity of processes to be corrected. Applications 3) and 4) benefit from high speed, since it allows for an increase in the scan rate of the devices.Utilization of AO for cutting and machining lasers, would allow more precise control of the tool spot size and shape.In AO-enhanced free space laser communications, quality of correction is currently limited by system speed. Higher correction speed will enable multi-gigabit military laser communications systems, such ground to air, air to air, and ground or air to space,and will enable robust commercial communications systems to work through a wide range of environmental conditions.For scanning applications, AO would allow for more precise beam control in the presence of thermal aberrations, turbulence aberrations, scanner induced aberrations or specimen aberrations. This could allow for a combination of cheaper optics, larger scanranges, and enhanced resolution in a wide variety of applications.

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

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