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Project Title:

Review of Advancements in Active Electro-Optical Systems to Avoid Technological Surprise Adverse to U.S. National Security
PIN: DEPS-DEPS-12-05        

Major Unit:

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Sub Unit:
RSO: Eyring, Greg

Subject/Focus Area: Math, Chemistry, and Physics

Project Scope
The field of active electro-optical sensing is relatively new and rapidly developing. Fundamental changes in underlying technology are ongoing, along with rapidly evolving implementation concepts. Thus, the potential for military surprise in this field may be significant over the next 5 to 10 year time frame. 

The NRC ad hoc committee will:

-      Evaluate the fundamental, physical limits to active electro-optical (EO) sensor technologies with potential military utility; Elucidate tradeoffs among technologies including: direct and heterodyne systems, scanning and flash ladar, Gieger mode, linear mode, and polarization based ladar, synthetic aperture vs real beam ladar; and parameters including sensitivity, dynamic range, polarization sensitivity, etc. Compare these limits to the near term state-of-the-art, identifying the scaling laws and technical and other impediments currently restricting progress.

-       Identify key technologies that may help overcome the impediments within a 5-10 year timeframe, the implications for future military applications, and any significant indicators of programs to develop such applications. Speculate on technologies and applications of relevance that are high impact wildcards with feasible deployment within 10 years. Discuss available laser illumination technologies, including wall plug efficiency. Femto-second pulse width laser sources should be considered.  Discuss available detector/receiver approaches and technologies. Discuss laser beam steering approaches. Discuss processing approaches to convert ladar data into useable information.

-       Consider the pros and cons of implementing each existing or emerging technology, such as noise, dynamic range, processing or bandwidth bottlenecks, hardening, power consumption, weight, etc. Identify which state and non-state actors currently lead worldwide funding, research, and development for the key technologies. Highlight the scale, scope, and particular strengths of these  research and development efforts, as well as predicted trends, timescales, and commercial drivers.

-       Evaluate the potential uses of active EO sensing technologies, to include 3D mapping and multi-discriminate laser radar technologies. Laser vibration detection, atmospheric compensation, multiple illumination wavelengths, polarization, and speckle considerations should be included as methods of determining object identity and status.

A report will be authored by the committee addressing the foregoing tasks.

Project sponsored by the Department of the Army. Approximate start date was September 2012.

Project Duration: 12 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 01/29/2013
 Meeting 2 - 03/05/2013
 Meeting 3 - 04/17/2013
 Meeting 4 - 05/10/2013
 Meeting 5 - 05/29/2013
 Meeting 6 - 07/30/2013


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Laser Radar Progress and Opportunities in Active Electro-Optical Sensing (2014)