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Proceedings Paper

Electronic beam control for advanced laser radar
Author(s): Terry A. Dorschner; Larry Q. Lambert; Irl W. Smith; Clarke E. Harris
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Paper Abstract

The recent development of optical phased arrays (OPAs) enables practical, electronically programmable, control of laser beams for laser radar and other advanced optical sensors. OPAs are the direct analog of microwave phased array antennas; they are electronically programmable optical elements that control the phase distribution on an optical aperture in order to control beam direction and shape. Operating principles and construction of OPAs are briefly described and current and potential performance capabilities are summarized. An OPA supports spatial-domain beam control such as agile or continuous scanning patterns, adaptive electronic focus control, and far-field beam shape control, as well as the generation of multiple beams from a single input beam (pattern generation, or fanout). OPAs also support time-domain beam control, including precision time delay or positioning of short pulses, pulse compression and expansion, and the generation of dense pulse bursts from a single pulse. All of these functions are software controllable, which enables mission-flexible and mission-adaptive optical systems, including so-called 'smart' optical systems with autonomous alignment and calibration capabilities. These and other electronically programmable capabilities are discussed. As a concrete example of an advanced sensor enabled by the OPA, the potential for an adaptable-format, high-resolution, multi-beam laser radar with no moving parts is discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 1999
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3707, Laser Radar Technology and Applications IV, (28 May 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.351353
Show Author Affiliations
Terry A. Dorschner, Raytheon Systems Co. (United States)
Larry Q. Lambert, Raytheon Systems Co. (United States)
Irl W. Smith, Raytheon Systems Co. (United States)
Clarke E. Harris, Raytheon Systems Co. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3707:
Laser Radar Technology and Applications IV
Gary W. Kamerman; Christian Werner, Editor(s)

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