NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 S1.01-8427
PHASE 1 CONTRACT NUMBER: NNX08CC68P
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lidar System Components
PROPOSAL TITLE: Wavelength Stabilized High Brightness Direct Diode Pumps for Solid State LIDAR Systems at Eye-Safe Wavelengths

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
nLight Photonics
5408 NE 88th Street, Building E
Vancouver, WA 98665 - 0990
(360) 566-4479

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kirk Price
kirk.price@nlight.net
5408 NE 88th Street, Building E
Vancouver, WA 98665 - 0990
(360) 521-6107

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 6 to 7

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Our proposed innovation is to design and fabricate a diode pumped Er:YAG micro-chip laser capable of varied repetition rates and high pulse energies using the single emitter-based high brightness pump developed in the Phase I. Future NASA missions will require high-pulse power with variable repetition rate flash and scanning LIDAR systems. Such LIDAR systems offer the advantages of excellent spatial resolution, high efficiency, and high beam quality. We propose to design and fabricate a resonantly pumped, passively Q-switched Er:YAG laser for eye-safe wavelength operation. We will incorporate the Er:YAG crystal and saturable absorber into the pump module, creating a compact, robust, and efficient Q-switched solid-state microchip laser.
The development of long wavelength, high power, highly efficient, fiber coupled pump modules will be continued. The basic pump unit, known as Pearl, has already proven itself robust in rigorous environmental testing. The performance of these devices will be enhanced by the addition of volume Bragg gratings (VBGs) for improved temperature stability and narrowed spectral line width for enhanced pump absorption. The development of these fiber coupled pump modules will be of great use to NASA for the pumping of future Er:YAG and Er-doped fiber laser systems, enabling high pulse energy eye-safe LIDAR systems.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The development of an eye-safe Er:YAG micro-chip laser is an enabling technology for future spaceflight missions. Lower power (sub mJ range), variable repetition rate LIDAR systems should be of particular interest to NASA for proximity sensing, spacecraft docking, landing and rendezvous aid, laser altimeters, backscatter LIDAR, and for laser ranging systems. Where powers in the 1-20 mJ range are needed, for atmospheric backscatter measurements or laser altimeter measurements, the pump power, crystal dimensions and saturable absorber can be designed to meet the mission requirements. Additional applications of the Q-switched pulses at 1.6 to 1.65 um are for the remote detection of CO2, Hydrogen, or methane.
This program will also enable the development of ultra-high brightness eye-safe pump modules at 1470-1532 nm. In the case where longer wavelengths are needed for the remote sensing of industrial pollutants, the solid state crystal, dopants, and pump wavelength can be reached by mutual agreement between NASA and nLIGHT. The approach being taken lends itself to other pump sources and solid state crystals, such as Ho:YLF pumped at 1938nm or 1892nm or Thulium-based solid state crystals pumped between 1600 and 1750 nm. No fundamental change in architecture would be required, resulting in enhanced cross-mission utilization. The basic pump unit, known as Pearl, has already proven itself robust in rigorous environmental testing.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The development of a Er:YAG micro-chip laser, will enable two significant markets: hand-held laser range finders (LRFs) and vehicle mounted range finders. These applications are of particular use in military applications to permit soldiers to accurately range and designate targets. There are limited domestic sources of such capability and this would be an enabling technology. Hand-held laser range finders typically produce pulses in the <1 mJ range, while vehicle mounted range finders have pulse energies in the 5-10 mJ range.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Photonics
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials


Form Generated on 08-08-08 10:51