Moderate average power, compact, operationally flexible 2 ?m solid-state/fiber hybrid transmitter laser solutions will tangibly and positively impact the readiness of current and future NASA laser remote sensing systems and missions for airborne and in the case of atmospheric DIAL instruments, space-based measurement applications. Full development, test, and delivery at the end of Phase I of BP?s extremely compact and ruggedized master oscillator source will directly benefit existing NASA programs operating at 2 ?m and will accelerate commercial availability. Efficient single-frequency pulsed 2 ?m wavelength lasers with variable pulse duration and PRF will greatly enhance the technical readiness of 2-micron wavelength coherent- and direct-detection lidar systems for ASCENDS type missions, IPDA, LAS, and hard-target identification, tracking, and imaging. Many of the innovations proposed can be transferred to other relevant laser gain media and wavelengths for other NASA applications.
Non-NASA commercial applications of the proposed pulsed 2-micron solid-state/fiber hybrid laser sources include DoD hard target and space debris tracking and imaging problems as well as research and industrial applications requiring very compact efficient front-end transmitter lasers in the eye-safe SWIR wavelength region. Specifically relevant to Beyond Photonics, we will capitalize on past NASA SBIR innovations that produced our initial SWIFT single-frequency solid-state cw single-frequency laser format and apply them to the pulsed single-frequency (injection seeded) transmitter laser design proposed here; we plan to incorporate new design concepts in this master oscillator (MO) laser, and then build, test, and deliver a fully functional prototype of the new MO source in Phase I. We ultimately envision commercial development of a small, rugged, and compact differential-absorption lidar (DIAL) sensor product for airborne measurement of CO2 and water vapor concentrations in the atmosphere, and other similar laser remote sensing applications.