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Newark, DE, United States

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 789.32K | Year: 2015

Herein, PSI proposes to leverage extensive development in the area of optically sampled passive millimeter-wave imaging to develop dual mode active/passive imagers that provide both the intuitive, real-time imagery of a passive imager and the ranging capabilities of an active sensor. To accomplish this task, an optically sampled millimeter-wave receive array is sampled via optical pulsed laser gating of the detection array. These signals are then reconstructed using an all optical image processor that is capable of generating real-time image samples. The optically gated sampling of this array is driven in conjunction with an optically generated millimeter-wave source that can be gated and phase with unprecedented levels of flexibility. Under the Phase I effort, key risk areas in the realization of such active/passive imaging arrays have been mitigated and the Phase II efforts proposed herein will culminate in the fabrication of a prototype sensor to be delivered as part of this effort. Developments made under this effort will directly supplement a passive imaging technology that is currently on track for transition to a prime US defense contractor and, as such, has a direct and immediate transition path to US DoD applications.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.83K | Year: 2015

Degraded visual environment (DVE) presents a challenge for helicopter pilotage, particularly in close proximity to potential hazards such as vegetation, poles, wires, buildings, vehicles, personnel, equipment, nearby terrain, other aircraft, or ship superstructures. To safely negotiate these hazards, the aircrew must maintain a continuous awareness of the environment that can include both static and moving obstacles. In the absence of direct visual cues in DVE, the crew must rely on other means to determine the location and movement of these hazards. Here, we propose the use of active millimeter-wave (mmW) imaging to provide information about the helicopter surroundings in full 3D. The approach relies on the movement of the main rotor for the scanning, and on a distributed mmW receiver concept with optical up-conversion and processing for detection. The captured signal contains all information necessary to determine the position and movement of objects in the vicinity of the helicopter as well as the state of the rotor. In addition, high-gain transmission and reception for communication is afforded by the large effective aperture. The goal of this Phase I SBIR is to establish the viability of the approach and to identify optimum system architectures.

Phase Sensitive Innovations, Inc. | Date: 2015-07-03

A method of RF signal processing comprises receiving an incoming RF signal at each of a plurality of antenna elements that are arranged in a first pattern. The received RF signals from each of the plurality of antenna elements are modulated onto an optical carrier to generate a plurality of modulated signals that each have at least one sideband. The modulated signals are directed along a corresponding plurality of optical channels with outputs arranged in a second pattern corresponding to the first pattern. A composite optical signal is formed using light emanating from the outputs of the plurality of optical channels. Non-spatial information contained in at least one of the received RF signals is extracted from the composite signal.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 95.29K | Year: 2015

The Army often operates in environments with limited visibility, due to smoke, dust, fog, or other visual obscurants, resulting in loss of situational awareness. In some circumstances, the Army may create such environments to provide a tactical advantage over adversaries. In these situations it is necessary to supplement visual data with reliable sensors that can penetrate obscurants. Furthermore, there exists a specific need for collision avoidance sensors for assets operating in such environments. Although these technologies exist they lack the range, field of view and object discrimination required by Army operations. Phase Sensitive Innovations (PSI) proposes a novel solution based on flexible antennas on liquid crystal polymer (LCP) that conforms to the shape of a vehicle, enabling larger antennas or antenna arrays with significantly improved performance and minimal cost. PSI has a wealth of experience in LCP design and developing see-through mmW technologies. We recently demonstrated a passive imager at 77GHz for Degraded Visual Environments (DVE) mitigation during helicopter landing and the knowledge gained will be leveraged for the currently proposed effort. In this effort we will design (Phase I) and demonstrate (Phase II) a reliable, low cost, mmW detection and collision avoidance system for vehicles which operate in DVE.

Agency: Department of Commerce | Branch: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 399.98K | Year: 2014

Passive microwave sensors aboard satellites provide valuable information regarding weather conditions by measuring atmospheric attenuation over a broad range of frequencies from 0-200 GHz. Additional ground-based sensors are desirable to provide complementary upward looking measurements that can be used to refine existing attenuation models. Operating over such a large bandwidth, however, places significant demands on the receiver architecture; a common approach to this challenge involves channelizing the receiver for each frequency band of interest. Unfortunately, this limits the flexibility of the system and finding components that can operate at these higher frequencies is challenging. The approach is taken by Phase Sensitive Innovations involves conversion of the collected radio frequency signals to optical frequencies, where these signals are relatively narrowband and can be processed using conventional photonic components. Optical up-conversion is accomplished using our own high speed (up to 300 GHz) lithium niobate phase modulators acting as broadband mixers. Subsequently an optical heterodyne mixer is used to tune the receiver and bring the desired frequency signals to baseband for detection. Such an approach offers significant advantages in terms of overall simplicity of the receiver design and the ability to operate efficiently at high frequencies up to and exceeding 200 GHz.

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