Non-Mechanical High Resolution LADAR Based Around A Frequency Swept Optical Source
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-138
Topic Title: Non-Mechanical High Resolution LADAR Based Around A Frequency Swept Optical Source
Proposal No.: N082-138-1052
Firm: Bridger Photonics, Inc
112 East Lincoln
Bozeman, Montana 59715-5652
Contact: Randy Reibel
Phone: (406) 920-1339
Abstract: Bridger Photonics (BP) and collaborative partner Montana State University (MSU) propose to develop a completely novel, non-mechanical scanning mechanism that will enable a compact, high-resolution, imaging LADAR system for enhanced navigation aid during helicopter brownouts. Such systems are becoming prominent in today's modernized military especially as the cost in lives and dollars has come to the Navy's attention. LADAR imaging is needed for increased functionality including enhanced situational awareness, obstacle detection and avoidance during landing. Due to the demanding payload requirements, any enabling technology must be sufficiently rugged, compact and lightweight. BP's proposed LADAR system will be capable of rapid volumetric scans with resolution up to 1 cm3 over a range of 30 m and a 30 x 60 field-of-view. The system will utilize an ultra-compact laser source, have no moving parts, and take advantage of a unique heterodyne detection technique to reduce receiver electronic bandwidths and processing requirements making the system robust, compact and affordable. The proposed system is based on BP's recent innovations in controlling frequency-swept optical laser sources and utilizing these sources to provide a unique non-mechanically scanned, wavelength multiplexed imaging system.
Benefits: To commercialize this revolutionary sensor, Bridger Photonics (BP) will bootstrap OEM sales of its active control module in commercial markets. From estimates of helicopter sales, BP estimates the market size to be $20 million. Furthermore, significant commercial markets exist for the BP sensor for both imaging LADAR applications as well as for other related technologies. For example a variety of commercial markets are waiting for a low-cost imaging sensor to provide autonomous navigation and object identification. In addition the team has identified strong desire in the telecom markets, the test and measurement markets, and in scientific markets for a much lower-cost, less complex, NIST traceable, calibrated frequency/wavelength sweeps such as those BP is developing. The team will utilize external investment to augment SBIR monies to bring the product first to the military markets and then to the commercial markets.