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Rolling Meadows, IL, United States

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2013

ABSTRACT: A superluminal ring laser gyroscope (SRLG) can improve the accuracy of rotation sensing by nearly five orders of magnitude. The same mechanism can be used to produce a superluminal ring laser accelerometer (SRLA), with a similar improvement in accuracy. Under Phase I, we have demonstrated the feasibility of the SRLA. Under the Phase II work proposed here, we will develop a miniaturized version of the SRLA, with a sensitivity of 10 pico-g/Hz^(1/2), a volume of 2cmX2cmX1cm, weighing about 15 grams, and using less than 2W of power. It will have a high dynamic range, capable of sensing an acceleration of 100g, a bias stability less than 0.01micro-g, and a scale factor fluctuation of less than 0.001 PPM. Under another Phase II proposal that have been selected for funding, we plan to develop an IMU, consisting of SRLGs and SRLAs, with an emphasis on performance optimization as well as electronic interfacing. In contrast, the emphasis of the work proposed here will be on miniaturization, while maintaining high performance. Since the SRLG makes use of the same core technology as the SRLA, the work carried out here will translate easily to the corresponding miniaturization of the overall 3-axis IMU, with a volume of 27 cm^3. BENEFIT: Three SRLAs, combined with three SRLGs, can be used to realize a high accuracy IMU that is very compact and light weight. Such an IMU could also be relatively inexpensive. An IMU of this type could have a significant impact on guidance, navigation and control systems for spacecraft, launch vehicles, missiles, kill vehicles, smart munitions and other applications requiring precision inertial knowledge. Non-DoD applications include spacecraft guidance, navigation and control, commercial aviation, emergency response in urban canyons, mining and tunneling operations, and maritime operations.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 444.96K | Year: 2008

Under the Phase I project, we have developed a Polarimetric Imaging System (PIS), integrated it with the 3-D Flash Ladar (FL), and have demonstrated operation of the integrated device: a PLADAR (Polarimetric Ladar). Furthermore, we have performed a detailed study of the ability of the PLADAR system to see parts of a scene that are not visible under intensity-only imaging. We have also shown how the PLADAR system can distinguish between parts of a scene that appear indistinguishable under intensity-only imaging. Finally, we have illustrated the development of a rudimentary database of the polarimetric properties of various surfaces that can be used for surface discrimination and object recognition using a PLADAR system. Under the Phase II project, we will develop further the PLADAR system for potential integration into Naval platforms such as the Firescout, a Vertical-Takeoff UAV. The specific tasks we would carry out under the Base project include: (a) High-Speed Operation of the PLADAR, (b) Automated Source Polarization Control for the PLADAR, (c) Development of Optimization Techniques for Compensating Residual Nonlinearity and Cross Talk, (d) Development of a Navy-Relevant Polarimetric Database, and (e) Development of a Portable Prototype for the PLADAR and Performing Field Tests. The Navy is currently developing a 3-D Ladar for FireScout, which will be evaluated under an ONR FNC program. The system developed under the Base project would be tested with this hardware. Under Option 1, we would adapt the PLADAR hardware and software for the Firescout platform. Under Option 2, we would test the adapted PLADAR aboard the Firescout platform.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.92K | Year: 2015

The fast-light effect in a cavity, produced by anomalous dispersion, has emerged as an important mechanism for enhancing the sensitivity of many devices. There are two modes of operation of such a cavity. In the active mode, the system is a superluminal ring laser (SRL) that experiences an anomalous dispersion caused by the gain medium. In the passive mode, the system is a white light cavity (WLC) that experiences an anomalous dispersion caused by an intra-cavity medium or via coupling to another cavity or another mode in the same cavity. We will investigation the development several closely related technologies based on the fast light effect: gyroscopes, accelerometers and general purpose fiber-optic sensors. For each technology, we will primarily pursue the active approach. The gyroscope will be based on using a pair of spatially overlapping SRLs realized via Raman gains, with Raman depletion used for anomalous dispersion. The accelerometer will be realized by using a similar system, but with two lasers that are spatially shifted with respect to each other. The fiber-optic sensor will be based on using a pair of Brillouin gain based SRLs, where the anomalous dispersion is produced via coupling to a cavity. In addition, for each device, we will investigate theoretically some passive techniques in order to determine relative advantages and tradeoffs between the two approaches. Specifically, for the gyroscope and the accelerometer, we will investigate the use of couple cavity based WLCs; for the fiber-optic sensor, we will investigate the use of a WLC realized by dual-peaked Brillouin gain. The particular mode of operation to be pursued for developing a practical version of each of these devices under Phase II will be established in accordance with the findings of the Phase I effort, and potential feedback and guidance received from the NASA program manager. Northwestern University, with Prof. Shahriar as the PI, will be a subcontractor.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2014

We propose to develop a low SWaP, portable microwave Rb-87 cold atomic clock using pulsed coherent population trapping (CPT). The SWaP goal is to achieve a volume of <1 liter, weight of <1 kG, and a power consumption of <5 Watts. The performance goal is a stability of 10^(-12) at 1 sec, <5x10^(-15) at 1 day. The specific approach we will pursue entails the following features: (a) Use pulsed CPT in the D1 manifold of trapped Rb-87 atoms, (b) Use magnetically insensitive Zeeman sublevels for the clock transition (c) Use a pi-polarized auxiliary beam to keep all atoms optically pumped into the clock levels for maximum signal, (d) use the proprietary all-glass miniature cell developed by Honeywell under the Darpa IMPACT program, with magnetic shielding added, (e) Use large trapping beam diameters to increase the signal, and (f) Suppress light-shift by saturating the CP transition during the first pulse. Honeywell and Northwestern University will be subcontractors on this project. During Phase I, we will use a conventional magneto-optic trap loaded from Rb getters to demonstrate the functionality of the clock, and produce the design for a miniaturized clock based on the Honeywell glass cell, meeting the SWaP requirements. During Phase II, we will realize the miniaturized clock, and demonstrate meeting the short and long term stability goals via studies of errors sources and mitigations thereof.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2015

There is a need for new types of IMUs, with better accuracy than the state of the art. Digital Optics Technologies (DOT) has been developing a Fast Light Optical Gyroscope (FLOG) that can improve the accuracy of rotation sensing by nearly six orders of magnitude. Alternatively, for a given accuracy need, the FLOG can be very small. DOT has also developed a Fast Light Optical Accelerometer (FLOAC). Under Phase I, we will demonstrate technical feasibility of realizing a compact Fast Light Inertial Measurement Unit (FLIMU) that would comprise three FLOGs and three FLOACs, utilizing miniature vapor cells, integrated optical components, detectors and lasers. The FLIMU is expected to be at least three orders of magnitude better than the state of the art in tactical IMUs, while meeting the SWaP goals of this solicitation. In addition to miniaturization, a key focus of this effort would be to develop requisite components that would be able to withstand harsh conditions such as radiation, vibration and shock. To this end, we will analyze and optimize the FLIMU design for robustness to vibration and shock, and carry out tests of key components for radiation hardness. Development of a prototype that would meet the SWaP, performance and robustness goals would be carried out in Phase II. Honeywell and Northwestern University would be subcontractors. Approved for Public Release 14-MDA-8047 (14 Nov 14)

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