Mid-Infrared Fiber Coupler for Multiband Infrared Countermeasure (IRCM)Lasers
Navy SBIR 2011.2 - Topic N112-089
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Moore - navair.sbir@navy.mil
Opens: May 26, 2011 - Closes: June 29, 2011

N112-089 TITLE: Mid-Infrared Fiber Coupler for Multiband Infrared Countermeasure (IRCM)Lasers

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Materials/Processes, Weapons

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA-272, Infrared Countermeasures

RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports):  This topic is "ITAR Restricted."  The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data.  Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a Mid-Infrared (Mid-IR) fiber coupler system capable of receiving multiple semi-conductor laser sources (e.g., quantum cascade lasers emitting at different Mid-IR wavelengths, solid-state lasers, optically pumped semiconductor lasers) so as to achieve a single output beam.

DESCRIPTION: Next generation infrared countermeasure (IRCM) systems must have the capacity to offer greater output power and wavelength range through a fiber than presently available in order to counter advancing threat technologies. Current Mid-IR sources are limited in the power and bandwidth they can deliver. Development of a Mid-IR fiber coupler can be a way to combine current IRCM laser sources to produce ultra broadband IRCM sources to gain higher output powers. We seek an all Mid-IR fiber coupler with capability to combine wavelengths from all IRCM bands (2-5 microns) into one fiber. This device should be able to combine powers of up to 100 watts and have low insertion losses less than 5 percent (-0.2dB) and maintain or improve beam quality.

PHASE I: Design, develop and prove feasibility of a Mid-IR fiber coupler. Model the losses and powers that can be combined in several iterations (various increments input lasers) of the fiber coupler.

PHASE II: Based on the design in Phase I, fabricate four sets of fiber coupler prototypes (two, four, six and eight input lasers) that are capable of combining outputs of several multiband IRCM laser sources. Test and evaluate the prototypes for performance, losses, beam quality and other characterization points.

PHASE III: Continue improving the fiber coupler in terms of increasing the number of input laser sources to achieve greater output power. Transition the technology to appropriate platforms and systems.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Commercial applications of this technology include chemical and explosive detection systems, Mid-IR fiber lasers, Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) is an optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered light to find range and/or other information of a distant target and free space optical communications.

REFERENCES:
1. Eyal, O., Shalem, S. & Katzir, A. (1994). Silver halide mid-infrared optical fiber Y coupler. Optical Letters 19, 1843-1845. doi:10.1364/OL.19.001843

2. Lippert, E., Nicolas, S., Arisholm, G., Stenersen, K. & Rustad, G. (2006). Mid-infrared laser source with high power and beam quality. Applied Optics, 45, 3839-3845. doi:10.1364/AO.45.003839

3. Mecherle, G. S. (1986). Laser diode combining for free space optical communication. Proceedings SPIE 616, 281. http://sciencestage.com/d/3388305/laser-diode-combining-for-free-space-optical-communication.html

4. Fan, T.Y. (2005). Laser beam combining for high-power, high-radiance sources. Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of, 11 (3), 567. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/login.jsp?url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fiel5%2F2944%2F32477%2F01516122.pdf%3Farnumber%3D1516122&authDecision=-203

KEYWORDS: mid-IR fiber coupler; IRCM; countermeasure; power scaling of lasers; spectral beam combining; coherent beam combining

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