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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Compact 2-Micron Transmitter for Remote Sensing Applications, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Beyond Photonics proposes to develop a highly compact, efficient next-generation single-frequency pulsed transmitter laser for current and future NASA missions focused on laser remote sensing in the short-wave infrared wavelength region near two microns. More reliable and compact sources of this type are required for NASA and commercial/military applications such as terrestrial and airborne Doppler winds, long-range measurement of molecular CO2 and H2O concentrations in the atmosphere, and identification and tracking of fast moving hard targets (e.g. space debris, asteroids, docking). We will emphasize the use of small but powerful lasers operating near 2 ?m and capitalize optimally on solid-state laser designs recently developed at Beyond Photonics as well as our team?s extensive past experience with this specific laser technology. Efficient, compact hybrid approaches using bulk solid-state pulsed transmitters followed by doped-fiber amplification will be a focus to reach flexible performance on the order of 200 ?J/pulse, 0.5-8 kHz PRF, which can serve as an effective transmitter for many applications as-is in both coherent or direct detection lidar architectures, or which can be increased via further amplification as needed. Operationally flexible Q-switched and injection seeded operation compatible with several different applications with differing requirements will be emphasized. Very compact efficient MO laser technology will also be exploited and a prototype MO delivered in Phase I. Techniques will be explored to increase output pulse duration to narrow the transform-limited pulse spectra while maintaining very compact laser cavity length. These innovations will apply directly to current NASA missions and instruments (Doppler lidar, IPDA, LAS) and accelerate commercial development and availability of practical ground-based and airborne systems (e.g. compact airborne CO2 concentration-measuring instruments) at BP and elsewhere. More »

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