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Proceedings Paper

Endoatmospheric Laser Arrays For Thermal Blooming Environments
Author(s): Neil C. Schoen; Daniel E. Novoseller
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Paper Abstract

The deployment of high energy lasers for endoatmospheric applications has been seriously hampered by the deleterious effects of thermal blooming on laser beam propagation. Early attempts to overcome these limitations involved altering the intensity distribution and/or obscuration of the exit aperture, a technique known as aperture intensity profile tailoring. A more promising approach to remedy propagation distortions has been the use of coherent optical adaptive techniques (COAT). Although this approach will compensate for turbulence as well, there are several problems involved in utilizing this technique for severe thermal blooming environments. These difficulties include performance improvement limitations due to near-target distortions, multi-glint sensing problems, and cost/complexity considerations. The apparent lack of a cost/performance effective approach to thermal blooming control led to this investigation of a multiple aperture construct (MAC) approach. The concept employs small discrete subapertures in place of a large single aperture to reduce thermal blooming effects in the target region. Preliminary calculations indicate that subunit phase control is not essential to achieving adequate performance. Wave-optics computer codes were used to study key performance parameters in addition to predicting target irradiances for several simple system models. The implication of this initial study is that multiaperture systems can be configured to achieve comparable or improved (~ 30%) performance levels as monolithic systems, but with smaller less costly optical elements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 1983
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 0410, Laser Beam Propagation in the Atmosphere, (12 July 1983); doi: 10.1117/12.935765
Show Author Affiliations
Neil C. Schoen, TRW SEDD (United States)
Daniel E. Novoseller, TRW SEDD (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0410:
Laser Beam Propagation in the Atmosphere
John Carl Leader, Editor(s)

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