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Multi-wavelength Power Meter (MPM)

Maryland, United States
Government : Military
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The Electronic Warfare Air/Ground Survivability (EWAGS) division of the Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate (I2WD) is currently working on hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) testing of optical sensors. Effective stimulation of the sensor requires the delivery of the right amount of light in the proper band. Known sources with stable output are essential, but in the case of a pulsed laser, the amount of light delivered might vary from pulse to pulse. Real-time monitoring of irradiance in this case is often accomplished with beam splitters or pick-off mirrors arranged to deflect a portion of the light to a fast detector. However, the use of a number of different single element detectors requires painstaking re-alignment each time.
EWAGS is investigating multi-wavelength power meters (MPM) to measure pulsed laser power and thereby monitor the irradiance falling on a sensor in real-time. Integrating such a device into the lab will create a system that is sensor agnostic, able to operate without re-alignment for any new sensor to be tested. One possible embodiment of such a device might be an integrating sphere with multiple output ports coupled to a modular set of detectors. By placing an appropriate bandpass filter in front of the detector, simultaneous measurements in multiple bands can be made.
EWAGS recognizes the technical challenges in developing MPM. The MPM must be capable of measuring laser pulses with frequencies on the order of 25 KHz. In order to do this, the detectors themselves must be very sensitive while simultaneously having a large dynamic range. The active area will likely need to be small, and any misalignments to the beam will impact the results. Measurement accuracy will be further compromised by the presence of speckle and other sources of noise (cooling may need to be applied at least in the infrared).
The focus of this effort is to develop an MPM that can be mounted to a motion table. The final package design should minimize size, weight, and power. It should be rigid enough not to flex under dynamic loads. In addition, the system should be able to tolerate small misalignments in the laser beam. The high frequency output signals will likely need to be shielded from crosstalk and other types of electromagnetic interference.
EWAGS is conducting this RFI to identify technology options and innovative approaches supporting multi-wavelength power meters (MPM) for HITL laboratory measurements.

John G. Sdanowich, Contract Specialist, Phone 4438614639, Email

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