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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Slow and Fast Light

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Slow and Fast Light, Phase I
In response to the NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program 2015 Phase I Solicitation S3.08: Slow and Fast Light, Torch Technologies in partnership with Ducommun Miltec proposes polarization-coupled fast-light optical gyroscope (FLOG) technologies to enhance the gyro sensitivity which would lead to an increase in the precision of inertial navigation systems resulting in greater spacecraft autonomy. The primary objective of this research is to develop the fast-light enhanced optical gyroscopes in a coupled cavity scheme to remove the necessity of using an atomic medium to produce the required anomalous dispersion. Producing fast light in a coupled cavity system is not a simple proposition, however, because it requires the stabilization of one cavity to the other due to the inherent presence of independent amounts of noise and drift in each optical cavity. In addition, no simple way to control the cavity scale factor exits in this scheme. Our proposed innovation is a new method of fast light cavity enhancement that implements mode coupling between orthogonally polarized modes in a single cavity as an alternative coupled cavity approach. The use of both polarization modes in the cavity result in common mode rejection of the noise and drift, resulting in a stable relative mode detuning and provides a simple control mechanism for the scale factor by rotation of the polarization, which is reproducible and stable. The results of this effort will contribute to development of gyroscopy technologies feasible for flexible path and deep space exploration to advance significantly current navigation systems. More »

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