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Proceedings Paper

Comparison of cooperative and non-cooperative adaptive optics reference performance for propagation with thermal blooming effects
Author(s): Brian E. Edwards; Arthur Nitkowski; Ryan Lawrence; Kasey Horton; Charles Higgs
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Paper Abstract

Atmospheric turbulence and laser-induced thermal blooming effects can degrade the beam quality of a high-energy laser (HEL) weapon, and ultimately limit the amount of energy deliverable to a target. Lincoln Laboratory has built a thermal blooming laboratory capable of emulating atmospheric thermal blooming and turbulence effects for tactical HEL systems. The HEL weapon emulation hardware includes an adaptive optics beam delivery system, which utilizes a Shack-Hartman wavefront sensor and a 349 actuator deformable mirror. For this experiment, the laboratory was configured to emulate an engagement scenario consisting of sea skimming target approaching directly toward the HEL weapon at a range of 10km. The weapon utilizes a 1.5m aperture and radiates at a 1.62 micron wavelength. An adaptive optics reference beam was provided as either a point source located at the target (cooperative) or a projected point source reflected from the target (uncooperative). Performance of the adaptive optics system was then compared between reference sources. Results show that, for operating conditions with a thermal blooming distortion number of 75 and weak turbulence (Rytov of 0.02 and D/ro of 3), cooperative beacon AO correction experiences Phase Compensation Instability, resulting in lower performance than a simple, open-loop condition. The uncooperative beacon resulted in slightly better performance than the open-loop condition.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 October 2004
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 5552, Target-in-the-Loop: Atmospheric Tracking, Imaging, and Compensation, (18 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.565159
Show Author Affiliations
Brian E. Edwards, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Arthur Nitkowski, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Ryan Lawrence, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Kasey Horton, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Charles Higgs, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5552:
Target-in-the-Loop: Atmospheric Tracking, Imaging, and Compensation
Michael T. Valley; Mikhail A. Vorontsov, Editor(s)

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