NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- E1.02-8857 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 023142 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Active Optical
PROPOSAL TITLE: Tunable, High Power Fiber Optic Laser for Lidar Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
9801 Greenbelt Road, Suite 103
Lanham , MD   20706 - 6204
(301 ) 552 - 6300

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Marcos Sirota
9801 Greenbelt Road, Suite 103
Lanham , MD   20706 - 6204
(301 ) 552 - 6300

We propose to develop a fiber laser which can be tuned over the range of 1530-1575 nm,produce high pulse energy at pulse rates from CW up to 10 KHz, has a narrow line width, and can simultaneously lase on two tunable wavelengths. Additionally, this laser will operate within the ?eye safe? range. A laser of this type would be attractive for conventional lidar and altimeter systems as well as wind lidar and DIAL systems. With the addition of a fiber amplifier this laser would eventually be capable of generating pulses on the order of tens of milli-joules, an amount suitable for space-based lidar systems. The laser output could be doubled into the near-IR range, tripled into the visible range, and quadrupled into the UV range of 382 to 394 nm.

We propose to combine the dual wavelength fiber laser developed by Jin U. Kang of Johns Hopkins University with multi-mode methods developed by Fabio Di Teodoro of the Naval Re-search Lab.

If successful, these lasers would provide a breakthrough for ground based, airborne and space based lidars due to their combination of eye safe wavelengths, high power, tunability, and capability for dual wavelength operation. Their inherent solid state structure and lack of external components make them ideal for space applications.

A high repetition rate, tunable, high power fiber laser would mean a break through in commercial laser technology. With the capability to tune and double, triple and quadruple the output frequency, most of the visible and soft UV spectral region could be covered, producing a new tool for laboratory and field research. In the scientific lidar sector, this laser could be implemented in various types of lidar/altimeter systems used in global studies and weather modeling. In R&D labs in academia or industry this laser would be an excellent source at wavelengths where other sources are cumbersome (OPO?s), and would offer greater flexibility. In the commercial sector this laser can be implemented in airport-based instruments (i.e. ceilometers, windshear detection) and urban pollution monitoring systems where reliability, ease of maintenance and eye-safety are paramount. Other applications include remote sensing of chem-bio agents, in urban and military environments. Overall market could be measured in several hundreds to few thousand units.

A high repetition rate, tunable, dual wavelength, high power fiber laser operating at eye safe wavelengths would be a breakthrough source for wind, water vapor, aerosol lidar, and altimetry systems. There is great need for lidar measurements of wind profiles as well as atmospheric constituents which this laser would enable, the last one particularly through its dual wavelength capability. Furthermore, a large fraction of the visible and soft UV spectral region could be covered by conversion, producing a tool for laboratory and field research not currently available. Its all fiber construction makes it a rugged compact, alignment insensitive system, ideally suited for space applications. The goal of this proposal is to demonstrate power scalability to obtain the per-pulse energies necessary for space based systems. If successful, this technology would provide a good alternative to Nd-Yag lasers for similar missions to GLAS, MLA and VCL in the future, and become a true enabler for missions with more stringent requirements.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10