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Terahertz Quantum Cascade Laser Based 3D Imaging, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

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Terahertz Quantum Cascade Laser Based 3D Imaging, Phase I
The NASA Constellation program has a need to non-destructively test (NDT) non-metallic materials (foams, Shuttle Tile, Avcoat, etc) for defects such as delaminations and voids. While imaging systems at terahertz frequencies (0.3 to 3 THz) have been demonstrated for 2D imaging of similar materials, they have not yet demonstrate full 3D volumetric imaging. To meet this need, LongWave Photonics proposes to use high-power, low-frequency terahertz quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) developed at MIT, to demonstrate 3D imaging using Laser Triangulation. By using high-power QCL sources, large signal to noise ratios (SNRs) are attainable, resulting in resolution of subtle defects at fast scan speeds. The shorter wavelengths emitted by QCLs, 60 to 250 ┬Ám, allow high lateral and depth resolution. The feasibility of a second system based on Swept-Source Optical Coherence Tomography will also be explored using a recently developed tunable THz QCL from MIT. In addition to the benefits of high SNR, this technique allows sub-wavelength depth resolution. The current generation of QCLs are compatible with a cooling package that is <1 Kg, with <100 W power consumption. Phase II work will package a second generation of QCLs in a compact system to meet NASA's portable 3D NDT needs. More »

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.