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Autonomous Alignment Advancements for Eye-safe Coherent Lidar, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Eye-safe coherent lidar technology holds increasing promise of meeting NASA's demanding remote 3D space winds goal near term. Highly autonomous, long-range coherent lidar systems may suffer significant SNR loss due to environment-induced component misalignment. Although systems can be engineered with the required alignment stability, the overall size, mass, and cost to produce coherent lidar systems will benefit from incorporating technology into the design that allows alignment to be optimized automatically while the system is in the field. This will especially benefit autonomous airborne and space based lidar systems where maintaining peak performance is critical without regular human intervention. Auto-alignment technologies will result in lower-cost sensors with greater autonomy and less-exotic mechanical engineering, resulting in high commercial potential due to the rapid introduction of lidar systems into the commercial marketplace for various applications. The technology aimed at maintaining laser and lidar alignment also has potential to correct for receiver lag angle in scanning lidar systems, which will facilitate faster scan rates, larger apertures, and greater area coverage rate capability. Beyond Photonics has a strong interest in solving these technological problems for relevant ground-based, airborne, and space-based unattended lidar systems. This Phase I effort will investigate auto-alignment designs exhibiting a high level of synergy between NASA's and other commercial vendor's requirements for laser auto-alignment, transmit/receive transceiver auto-alignment, and lag angle compensation. More »

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