|Advanced Infrared Laser Component Technology|
|Sensors & Electronics Technology|
Active Imaging, DIRCM, EOIR CMCCM, Fiber Lasers, Infrared Lasers, Lasers, Self Protection
Mid-infrared laser technology is critical to development of active sources to defeat a growing spectrum of heat seeking missiles, as well as for remote sensing of targets and threats. Devices must tolerate environmental changes, and fit into platforms from ships and large transports to helicopters and ground vehicles. SET-170 and SET-224 have pursued advances in fiber lasers as their optical confinement and inherent geometry are well suited to these applications, especially on smaller platforms. Bulk crystal lasers and quantum cascade lasers offer competing advantages, the former in higher pulse energies, the latter in compact size and efficiency. Despite the variety of options, however laser sources still struggle to provide the power/energy, wavelength coverage, and efficiency required by many military applications, while also meeting size, weight, and power requirements. Results obtained by the RTGs combined with ongoing developments in this rapidly evolving field suggest future directions for research that can address these technology gaps.
The objective of the proposed ET is to identify the best way forward in addressing the fundamental technical challenges that prevent laser systems from fully addressing the needs of military applications. The most readily apparent are power/energy scaling, improving efficiency, wavelength coverage and tunability, and thermal management. This collaboration will build upon results obtained under the earlier TGs, incorporating parallel developments, both published and in-house. The first ET meeting will be held immediately following the Workshop on Advanced Mid-Infrared Laser Technology, endorsed at the last PBM and recently approved. The workshop will serve as a "reality check" on what the current needs and challenges are, and which approaches in designing laser components show greatest potential for meeting them. Based on this input, the scope of the ET and a future TG may expand beyond fiber lasers to include other approaches.
End-products include a TAP and draft Programme of Work for a new Task Group based on participant consensus.
1. Power/energy scaling and efficiency in mid-IR lasers
2. Wavelength coverage and tunability
3. Thermal management, damage, and size/geometry considerations