SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  AF071-154 (AirForce)
Title:  Ladar Seeker Technologies
Research & Technical Areas:  Sensors, Electronics

  Objective:  Research and develop techniques for high resolution 3D imaging ladar to include optical multidiscriminant techniques.
  Description:  Imaging ladar systems must be compact, inexpensive and reliable if they are to be seekers on autonomously guided munitions. Novel ladar systems, ladar system components, or ranging techniques which offer range resolution less than 12 inches, range precision of less than 3 inches, an amplitude dynamic range of at least 10 bits, and operate at eyesafe wavelengths have the greatest priority. For ladar applications addressing multidiscriminant seeker technologies: co-registration of 1/20 of a pixel across channels is required; all systems should address nth pulse detection (up to 4 returns per pixel) for imaging occluded or obscured targets. Coregistration of long wave infrared (LWIR) passive imagery with traditional ladar imagery is of interest. Innovative ideas must lead to a low-cost, medium-range (2-5 km) imaging ladar seeker constrained to a total system volume of less than 250 cubic inches. Current ladar components include lasers, optical detectors, optical scanners, transmit and receive optics, and ranging electronics. High energy eye-safe (>1.5 micron wavelength) laser and focal plane arrays (>256x256) for optical detection that offer or support single-shot imaging of a scene are of particular interest. Novel techniques to electronically scan the single-shot transmitter and receiver are of particular value in eliminating current gimbal requirements. This will drastically reduce weight and cost. Also of interest are techniques for improved signal-to-noise for laser ranging, techniques that lend themselves to implementation in small packages, and techniques that allow imaging with eye-safe wavelengths in the near to mid-IR range. Exploration into the use of multiple laser wavelengths, phase information, and polarization information to increase ladar system performance is highly encouraged. Proposed components and techniques should be capable of implementation in small, low cost packages for use on autonomously guided munitions deployed from aerial platforms. Proposals to improve ladar components should include an envisioned ladar system architecture that utilizes the proposed component. Proposed schemes should be appropriate for implementation in a laboratory breadboard setup.

  PHASE I: Phase I of this project should investigate the performance of the proposed component or technique through modeling & simulation or fabrication of critical elements of the design. The results will be used to establish a prototype component or system design and outlined in a detailed report.
  PHASE II: Phase II of this project would involve the construction and delivery of a prototype component or ladar system based upon the design developed in Phase I.

  DUAL USE COMMERCIALIZATION: Military application: Munition seekers, airborne reconnaissance & surveillance, targeting systems, lasers, optical detectors, & optical scanners. Commercial application: Remote sensing applications for environmental monitoring, security systems, geographic surveying, industrial monitoring applications, & collision avoidance sensors for transportation systems.

  References:  1. Cohen, M. J., et al. "Commercial and Industrial Applications of Indium Gallium Arsenide Near Infrared Focal Plane Arrays." Proc. SPIE, 3698, (1999), 453. 2. Dries, J. C., et al. "Two-dimensional Indium Gallium Arsenide Avalanche Photodiode Arrays for High-Sensitivity, High-Speed Imaging." IEEE LEOS Proceedings, 2002. 3. Boas Gary, “Ladar Images in Three Dimensions”, Photonics Spectra, February 2003

Keywords:  laser radar, ladar, laser ranging, direct detection, coherent laser radar, laser applications, optical scanners, optical detectors, focal plane array, LWIR, multispectral

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