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    15 - 19 April 2018
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    Onsite News

    On this page:
       Monday 5 April
       Tuesday 6 April
       Wednesday 7 April
       Thursday 8 April

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    Thursday 8 April

    John Zolper of Raytheon gave a keynote presentation addressing the expanding role of opto-electronics in military applications. With a quickly changing battlespace, he asserted, one of asymmetric threats, highly effective low-tech threats such as IEDs, unprecedented unpredictability, and increased difficulty in sorting friends and foes, simply building better sensors is inadequate. He said that today's military response needs cross-domain dominance that requires obtaining maximum knowledge of objects of interest, rapidly linking linking these discoveries, and ensuring that all information is both tamper-free and rigorous.

    Zolper identified three main areas where opto-electronics has been and will continue to improve our ability to respond to threats: First, through broadening the usable spectrum and exploiting new bands such as SWIR, one can increase the ability to preemptively see threats. Second, opto-electronics can monitor for biological and chemical weapons, explosives, and WMDs. Improvements in this area will be driven by improvements in detector materials, noise suppression, and FPA sizes. Third, opto-electronics will be growing in importance as weapons systems and deterrents, such as laser dazzlers and high-energy laser systems that can destroy a distant target.

    Dr. Zolper then outlined several Raytheon projects in high-energy laser systems and showed footage of one successful deployment in 2008 of a missile defense system in destroying a satellite that had come out of its orbit.

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    Wednesday 7 April

    Conference sessions continue

    Type-II antimonide-based superlattices for the third-generation infrared focal plane arrays (paper 7660-43), Manijeh Razeghi, Northwestern Univ. (United States)Continued progress was reported in Type II superlattice (SL) materials, which last year produced impressive results for single detector performance. This year that performance was reported in a focal plane array. The program on Gap Engineered Materials (GEMS) uses MBE as the growth process for its improved uniformity over the large area needed for FPAs. A better understanding of dark current mechanisms was found through iterations of modeling, processing and characterization. A new design structure was developed to eliminate carrier tunneling to create a very low noise device. Low noise and improved quantum efficiency make type II SL devices a viable alternative for 3rd generation focal plane arrays.

    Nd:YAG-CO2 double-pulse laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy for explosive residues detection (paper 7665-24), Matthew Weidman, CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, Univ. of Central Florida (United States)A Nd:Yag and CO2 laser were combined to perform double-pulse laser-induced breakdown experiments. It was found that an initial CO2 laser pulse prior to the Nd:Yag pulse promotes plasma heating and enhanced output spectral results by nearly an order of magnitude, while post-processing the Nd:Yag-produced plasma with the CO2 laser pulse quenched the signal.

    An overview of a high performance zoom camera (paper 7668-36), Brian M. McMaster, Corning Tropel Corp. (United States)This paper presented the system overview and assembly procedure for a high-performance zoom camera. The optics are divided into a static group (nonmoving) and a dynamic group (moving elements), with both groups aligned to a common surface or assembly datum. Flexure connections where used on the lead screw to eliminate torquing of the drive mechanism for the dynamic elements. Ball and v-groove structures where used on the static elements to accommodate motion due to thermal expansion mismatches between the stainless steel alignment structures and the aluminum housing. Bore sight performance over temperature showed all movement well within the alignment specifications.




    Government Funding Session

    Have you ever wondered how to really do business with the government? How you can get your projects funded in the future? Today's special session on business opportunities brought together a number of top officials who explained exactly how to prepare proposals, and exactly what areas that they are most interested in funding.

    The session opened with an overview of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) by its founding Director, Lisa Porter. She explained that IARPA's mission is to invest in high-risk/high-payoff research that has the potential to provide the U.S. with an overwhelming intelligence advantage over its future adversaries. They fund projects that take about 4 to 5 years to complete and are dedicated to gauging success or failure at that juncture so that they may move on to fresh projects. Their instilled philosophy of forced turnover (not just of programs, but program managers) ensures that no programs get institutionalized, the organization remains agile, fresh ideas are constantly being injected, best ideas will surface, and the status quo is always questioned. This is good news for businesses seeking funding, as IARPA is always seeking new proposals.

    The types of research they are interested in funding, Dr. Porter explained, will be aligned with three main thrusts: (1) Smart collection, i.e., dramatically improving the value of collected data; (2) incisive analysis, i.e., maximizing insight from collected information in a timely fashion; and (3) safe and secure operations, i.e., countering threats inherent in our networked world, a field sometimes dubbed "cyber security."

    Dr. Porter recommended that anyone developing a proposal for IARPA heed the famous "Heilmeier Questions" that IARPA will always use in evaluating proposals. "We do not fund problems, we fund solutions," she said, "and it is only through a full appreciation of the brilliance of these questions can you understand just what IARPA would ask of you."

    David Honey introduced the DDR&E Research Directorate. The DDR&E is the office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, and it is the principal staff advisor on research to both the Under Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Dr. Honey serves as Director of the Research Directorate, and explained the Directorate's mission and structure. Like Dr. Porter's talk, he outlined specific areas of interest where there are funding opportunities. Their RDT&E funds requested for all of 2010 neared $80B, and he expects that to be equaled in 2011.

    Projects that they are interested in funding include STEM Education, high-performance computing, large data sets, and cyber security; however, there were a couple of surprising other inclusions. They are requesting $68M for Environmental R&D in 2011. This covers environmental restoration after warfare, sustainable infrastructure so operations don't permanently worsen the environment, and munitions cleanup (such as fields or waterways of unexploded mines). The Directorate is also interested in what Honey termed "soft power," which involves "soft" science such as the sociological research done in their Human Social Cultural Behavioral program or their Minerva Project. Like Dr. Porter, Dr. Honey encouraged businesses big and small to submit proposals.

    The session closed with demonstrations and discussions of high-energy-laser research by Don Seeley, the Deputy Director of the High-Energy Laser Joint Technology Office (HEL-JTO). He showed films of high-energy lasers successfully destroying airborne drones, ground targets, and in-air missiles over the past 10 years, gave a history of many programs, and outlined the near-term goals for deploying high-energy lasers in the field.



    Harold Szu, U.S. Army Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate, and Thomas Hopper, Federal Bureau of Investigation, presented the Wavelet Leadership Award for Biometric Recognition to Prof. John Daugman, Cambridge Univ., during the Independent Component Analyses, Wavelets, Neural Networks, Biosystems, and Nanoengineering VIII conference.




    Annual Awards Banquet

    Over 300 people attended the gala DSS Awards Banquet on Wednesday night. Symposium Chair Michael Eismann, Technical Advisor Electro-Optics Sensor Technology Div., Air Force Research Lab, welcomed the attendees and gave thanks to the conference chairs and attending registrants.

    Six new Fellows of the Society were recognized by SPIE President Ralph James:

    • Pieter Bijl of TNO Human Factors, The Netherlands, for specific achievements in EO-IR sensor performance
    • Michael Eismann of the United States Air Force Research Lab, for specific achievements in hyperspectral and infrared imaging
    • Prem Kumar of Northwestern University, for specific achievements in quantum fiber optics, optical communications, and nonlinear and quantum optics
    • Manuel Martinez-Corral of Univ. de Valencia, Spain, for specific achievements in three-dimensional imaging
    • Miguel Velez-Reyes of Universidad se Puerto Rico Mayaguez, Spain, for specific achievements in hyperspectral image processing
    • Anbo Wang of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, for specific achievements in optical fiber sensors


    2010 Fellows conferred by SPIE President Ralph James (far right)

    Emil Wolf with the University of Rochester was honored with the the 2010 G.G. Stokes Award in recognition of his contributions in formulating the modern theories of coherence and polarization of optical fields.

    A. Fenner Milton, Director of Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate Communications-Electronics Research, Development & Engineering Center at the U.S. Army Research, Development & Engineering Command, was presented with the SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing Lifetime Achievement Award. As the featured banquet speaker, Dr. Milton then gave a talk on "Sensing Challenges of Asymmetric Warfare."



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    Tuesday 6 April

    Exhibition showcases advances in defense, security, sensing, robotics


    SPIE DSS10 exhibition

    More than 500 companies have brought their latest technologies and systems to the high-energy exhibition at SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing (DSS). Exhibitors are reporting good traffic, as is the SPIE Job Fair. Robotics and unmanned systems are on display, featuring the General Atomics "Reaper," humanoid robots, and ground systems currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Plenary looks to future of defense

    Accelerating technical capability to the field and the reality of the uncertainty of the future are two major themes guiding research in the U.S. Dept. of Defense (DOD), the agency’s Chief Technology Office told DSS attendees.

    Speaking before a plenary audience at the start of the second day of the event, the Honorable Zachary Lemnios, Director of Defense Research and Engineering and CTO of the DOD noted that funding of past projects has been characterized by long-term developments such as the Stealth Fighter aircraft and satellite communications. However, he said, in the future, response to current known threats is not going to be sufficient, and projects will need to progress on commercial timescales of weeks or months instead of years.

    Lemnios identified the four themes for future funding as:

    • Accelerate technical capability to the field: An 80% solution today is infinitely more valuable than a 100% solution next week, next month, or next year.

    • Develop a strategy to address future uncertainties: It is no longer enough to defend the air, land, sea and space; cyberspace must be added to the list and it must be defended just as any other space.

    • Reduce costs, time, and risk: Increase funding for Systems engineering topics.

    • Increase the human capital in science and technology through programs for engineering and math education.


    SPIE DSS10 exhibition

    Plenary Speaker The Honorable Zachary J. Lemnios, Director, Defense Research and Engineering and CTO, United States Department of Defense (center) is flanked by Symposium Chair Michael T. Eismann, Air Force Research Lab. (left) and Symposium Cochair William Jeffrey, HRL Labs., LLC (right)


    Conferences in full swing

    DSS conference rooms were busy on Day Two. Among the presentations were:

    Optical frequency combs

    Peter Delfyett of CREOL gave a keynote talk (paper 7700-17) on a highly stable source for optical frequency combs and illustrated how it would enable the applications of optical sampling (an optical analog-to-digital converter), matched filtering (optical computing or image processing), arbitrary waveform generation, and optical communications. The stable optical frequency comb source is realized by introducing a high finesse etalon into the cavity of a long ring fiber laser and then using feedback from monitoring the pulses to adjust the fiber ring to be on resonance with the highly stable etalon. The source produces 100 picoseconds pulses at 12 Ghz with linewidths of 500 hz.

    Optical metamaterials

    Of particular interest in an Air Force Research Labs talk on “Antenna analysis using properties of metamaterials” (paper 7669-23) was the participation of high school students in the research. The talk discussed a project to design traditional patch antennas using optical metamaterials; authors are Atindra Mitra of AFRL, Kassandra Maxwell of Univ. of Dayton (Ohio), and Colin Hu of Beavercreek High School in Dayton.



    Women in Optics Presentation

    Angelique X. Irvin, President and CEO, Clear Align, gave a presentation to the assemblage at the SPIE Women in Optics reception. Her talk was on "Fueling Technical Innovation, Culture and Tactics Learned from Bell Laboratories."

    Watch a brief video of Irvin's presentation: Angelique irvin speaks to SPIE Women in Optics












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    Monday 5 April

    First-day crowds -- and a shuttle launch

    SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing (DSS) launched this morning in Orlando, Florida, with heavy crowds at registration and the added excitement of a bird’s-eye view of the launch of space shuttle Discovery.




    Vapor trails from the launch of the space shuttle Discovery

    Dozens of DSS attendees watched from a viewing suite on the 27th floor of the Marriott Orlando World Center Resort as the shuttle blasted into orbit at about 6:20 a.m. local time. With only two more NASA shuttle launches scheduled, this was a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle for many. The shuttle is delivering science hardware to the International Space Station, one of a large number of space projects on which papers will be presented this week.




    Busy conference rooms

    The first conferences and professional development courses of the week were in session by 8 a.m., with typically large audiences in Conf. 7660 Infrared Technology and Applications as well as in Conf. 7671 Terahertz Physics, Devices, and Systems IV,  the Imaging session in Conf. 7680 Next-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies, and others. Among today's presentations:

    Non-lethal weapons

    In the real world, deployment of non-lethal technologies has been sparcely funded and little used. This is gradually changing, due in part to the work of the US DoD Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, which held a session on non-lethal weapons (NLW) technologies and systems Monday afternoon (Conf. 7666 Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IX). While its budget is small, interest in NLW is increasing the budget for NLW, while the budget for other defense budgets continues to see cuts.

    As keynote speaker David Law said, the purpose of NLW is to bridge the capability gap between "shouting and shooting," allowing law enforcement and the military a range of options to control a situation. These weapons are explicitly designed and primarily employed to incapacitate targeted personnel or materiel immediately, with the added constraint that they must only impart effects that are reversible. Current non-lethal options, such as tazing a human or disabling a car with spikes, have very limited range, and getting beyond the 0-50 yards range is a real challenge of the Directorate. Larger ranges will allow for safer standoff distances for both authorities and civilians, minimizing the impact of such threats as IED-equipped vehicles.

    Since its inception in 1996, the Directorate's primary deployments were in blunt impact weapons until around 2006, when the laser dazzler was deployed. A laser dazzler is a high-brightness green laser that is extremely effective in obscuring the entire field of view of a driver, forcing him to stop or lose control of the vehicle. Systems in development include the use of malodorants, acoustics, and the disabling of vehicles by undercarriage currents or RF beams. This use of directed energy is seen as the area with the most growth potential.

    Bruce Wright explained the approach of the Directorate to testing the human effects of NLW. While non-lethal weapons must follow the same regulations as lethal weaponry, they are also required to not permanently harm the target, making their approval all the more difficult. Existing data is also scant on NLW as opposed to lethal weapons, making the proof-of-concept ever more rigorous.

    This was apparent in the many technology development presentations that followed. The vehicle and vessel stopping technologies demonstrated by Scott Griffiths were said to be the major thrust of their current research and showed just how difficult insuring non-lethal consequences could be. Similarly, the optical and acoustic incapacitation, muscular incapacitation, and counter-swimmer technologies proved to have their own technical and policy complexities, proving that although Hannibal Smith and his team are still something of a fantasy in the world of modern warfare, they may not be for long.

    Challenges in cyber sensing

    Cyber sensing is a topic new to DSS, but important as computers are everywhere in our systems. Jonathan McCune, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (paper 7666-01), pointed out that a central issue is how to determine whether a system has been compromised. In the current process, called "attestation," a separate trusted device or system queries the system under question about the state of its controlling software. It does the validation through a "hash" code. If the code does not match what is supposed to be there then the system is considered to be compromised. The trusted platform takes many forms, some in software some in hardware. For example a trusted platform module (TPM) might be a USB device that is hard wired to evaluate the hash code.

    Optical detectors in space applications

    Space system detectors need to locate and identify objects at great distances over wide temperature range and background noise situations, noted David Cardimona, AFRL (paper 7679-02). In addition, these objects may be only single-pixel events. This requires low noise detectors with some form of optical amplification of signal. The concept for detector development is to build focal plane arrays of single-pixel elements that each contain their own capability for protection, detection, cooling, and processing. Several technologies are being explored to see if they can provide these devices; one approach uses plasmonics detection in the near field with enhanced output signal through interactions with surface plasmon polaritons (SPP) produced through structured metallic layers on the surface of the detector. Another approach couples a quantum dot enhanced detector device and photonic crystal cavities to create population inversions that can be used to enhance the output signal. A third tunable detection approach uses both lateral bias voltage to assist photon tunneling to achieve signal enhancement and vertical biasing for tuning the resonance frequency of the collection device.

    Continuous-wave Thz emitter arrays for spectroscopy and imaging

    Sebastian Bauerschmidt, Max-Planck-Institut für die Physik des Lichts (paper 7671-12) described the outputs of two fiber lasers mixed in fiber couplers and multiply divided to produce multiple Thz interference beats that are collected by a group of detector whose output goes to Thz antennas. The detector antenna combinations converts the optical Thz beat signal into a multiple (in this case 4) free-space propagating Thz wave. These beams are coherent in phase and simple optics are used to recombine the beams in the far field (focal distance of 4 meters). The combined beams add coherently to produce an N (4) squared peak power and reduced spot size. The combination of higher power and reduced spot size greatly improves the capability of the system to achieve both Thz spectroscopy and imaging experiments.

    Tactical energy independence: abundance, efficiency, diversity

    DARPA is working to create strategic advantage for troops and also to avoid strategic surprise, and to achieve this through science by the development of real producible technology. Brian Holloway, DARPA Defense Sciences Office program manager (paper 7683-05), gave an overview of DARPA programs, goals, and guidelines on how to interact with DARPA on topics in this area. Among the programs discussed were

    • Very-high-efficiency solar cells (VHESC) which use multilambda solar cells to collect and convert light to electricity across the entire spectral band from IR to UV
    • Portable photonics (PoP): very lightweight, foldable portable solar cells for field deployment to achieve the greatest power per pound of energy conversion, for foot soldier recharging of batteries and equipment operation
    • The program LOTS, for developing better energy extraction from batteries to accommodate the high load requirements of current DOD electrical equipment; the program has a goal of 3X lifetime at higher loads, and researchers are looking at basic science to develop battery technology to meet these needs
    • Program FrontEdge which combines solar cells directly with batteries for recharging
    • Integrated high-density capacitors (IHEDC) which will provide the high charge needed to deploy active armor on vehicles that produce reverse momentum upon projectile impact to counter the effects of an incoming rocket.

    Students network with the experts

    Networking for students began in earnest today as well. The more than 100 who attended the perennially popular “Student Lunch with the Experts” were welcomed by SPIE Past President Kevin Harding (GE Global Research). Dave Smialek, Business Development Manager for luncheon-sponsor BAE Systems, invited the students to attend tomorrow’s SPIE Job Fair in the exhibition hall and see what BAE Systems and other employers have to offer.



    SPIE Past President Kevin Harding addresses a crowd of students looking for advice and encouragement


    Vendor presentations

    The Thermosense (Conf. 7661) vendor presentations also drew a packed crowd for an early look at hardware and software to be featured in the three-day exhibition opening on Tuesday. Participating companies were Boulder Imaging, Telops, SCD.USA, FLIR Systems, Thermoteknix Systems, IRCAM, StingRay Optics, and Xenics, giving brief presentations on what is new this year in their product lines that impact thermal imaging applications and practices.


    High-tech welcome

    Two large screens provided by FLIR Systems cast thermal imaging video from a FLIR high-definition infrared camera of people entering the DSS welcome reception. More than a thousand conference attendees enjoyed an impressive buffet and the chance to relax with fellow scientists. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the laser, the reception included a laser light show and several videos. General Atomics Aeronautical provided a small-scale unmanned aerial vehicle for display in the center of the ballroom. "SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing is our main show now," said Aaron Dodell, an engineer with General Atomics. "This is where our target audience is, and the products we are making are a perfect fit."

    Almost like being there:SPIE Welcome Reception