SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  AF071-277 (AirForce)
Title:  A System for Mapping the 3-Dimensional Distribution of Cloud Particles
Research & Technical Areas:  Air Platform, Sensors, Electronics, Space Platforms

 The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 3.5.b.(7) of the solicitation.
  STATEMENT OF INTENT: Develop a Cloud Particle Mapping System, a very high priority technology for this PEO
  Objective:  Develop a cloud particle mapping system capable of measuring particles in place, to be used for designing better lasercom systems for transmission through atmospheric layers with cloud particles.
  Description:  Mapping of the particle configuration within typical clouds of various types would enable the development of cloud particle models that could be used for laser communications design studies. Accurate mapping can only be done when the cloud environment is probed in a non-intrusive manner. This SBIR topic calls for the design, fabrication and demonstration of a cloud particle mapping system that can sample extensive volumes of various cloud types and produce cross-sectional depictions of the cloud particle distribution by size and shape at selected intervals in a transit of a cloud layer. The success of this project may enable lasercom transmission through terrestrial atmospheric layers having cloud particles and may enable transmission to high-flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

  PHASE I: Determine the feasibility of an in-situ, non-disruptive cloud particle mapping system, including detailed discussion of minimization of particle motions due to movement of the sampling device through the cloud.
  
  PHASE II: Design, fabrication and testing of a prototype cloud particle mapping system.

  DUAL USE COMMERCIALIZATION: Military application: The cloud particle mapping systems would be used for designing military laser communications through terrestrial layers. Commercial application: Useful in research conducted by other government laboratories, such as Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Instrumentation manufacturers in the private sector could adapt and enhance the basic concept for applications such as modeling radiative transfer through clouds in climate models, and supporting industry that uses laser communications for commercial purposes. Both airborne and fixed sampling strategies are possible depending on the application.

  References:  1. Fischer, K. W., M. R. Witiw, J. A. Baars and T. R. Oke, "Atmospheric laser communication - new challenges for applied meteorology," Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 85, 725-732, 2004. 2. Heymsfield, A.J., C. Schmitt, A. Bansemer, G.-J. van Zedelhoff, M.J. McGill, C. Twohy and D. Baumgardner, "Effective Radius of Ice Cloud Particle Populations Derived from Aircraft Probes," J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech., 23, 361-380, 2006.

Keywords:  laser transmission, cloud water content, ice water content, cloud particle mapping

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