NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-E1.02-8633 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 034372)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Lidar Remote Sensing
PROPOSAL TITLE:Space-Qualified 1064 nm Seed and Metrology Laser

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Fibertek Inc
510 Herndon Pkwy
Herndon ,VA 20170 - 5225
(703) 471 - 7671

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Floyd E. Hovis
510 Herndon Pkwy
Herndon ,VA  20170 -5225
(703) 471 - 7671
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

A space-qualified, single-frequency oscillator operating at 1064 nm is a critical component for a number of active optical measurement systems that have been proposed for both ground and space-based NASA missions. These include metrology for space-based interferometers, direct detection wind lidar systems, atmospheric aerosol measurement systems, and differential absorption lidar (DIAL) systems for ozone measurement. These applications all require a frequency-stabilized cw 1064 nm oscillator with an output power in the 10-100 mW range. We propose to design and build a space-qualified version of the required laser oscillator. We will base our design on a diode-pumped microchip laser. It will incorporate both active temperature control and locking to a narrow molecular absorption to provide a high level of frequency stabilization. Redundant diode pumps, thermally and mechanically robust packing, and a careful choice of materials to minimize contamination effects will ensure the design will be space qualifiable. Our Phase I work will demonstrate that the key technology goals can be met in a space qualifiable design. In Phase II we will accomplish the detailed design, assembly, and qualification of a space-qualified single frequency laser that meets the required performance goals.

Researchers at LaRC are developing an ozone dial system that frequency converts a pulsed 1064 nm source. Researchers at GSFC are developing a wind lidar system that uses the output of a frequency tripled 1064 nm laser. Another group at LaRC is developing a High Spectral Resolution Lidar system for ground-based validation measurements of the CALIPSO mission. All of the 1064 nm pumps for these systems require the frequency stabilized seeder we are proposing to build. The same single frequency laser could be used in a number of ongoing and proposed space-based metrology systems.

Non-NASA lidar systems are a larger market than for NASA systems and represent over 75% of Fibertek's revenues. Most of our revenue is for ground-based DoD systems, but there is a growing interest in space-based lidars. The DoD systems have the same requirement for robustness as the NASA systems. We will incorporate the single frequency laser and precision metrology technology developed under this SBIR into the next generation of DoD lidar systems. Since the market for DoD lidar systems will remain larger than that for NASA, we expect our DoD revenues for this technology to eventually exceed the NASA revenues.