The goal of the Short-range Wide-field-of-view Extremely-agile Electronically-steered Photonic Emitter (SWEEPER) program is to develop a photonic integrated circuit capable of agile beam-steering using optical phased arrays.
The military and commercial importance of laser beam-steering for applications such as 3D imaging, navigation, chemical-biological sensing, precise targeting, and communications has long been recognized. Current beam-steering systems often rely on large, slow, optomechanical steering or smaller acousto-optical or electro-optical devices that lack the necessary speed and versatility for many applications. Drawing on phased array concepts that revolutionized RADAR technology, the Short-Range, Wide Field-of-View Extremely agile, Electronically Steered Photonic Emitter (SWEEPER) program will develop a compact, agile alternative to mechanical beam-steering. The SWEEPER program seeks to extend phased array beam-steering to the optical domain in the near infrared (0.8 to 2 μm range) by developing optical phased arrays and building on recent advances in photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology such as increased photonic device density and circuit complexity.
The SWEEPER program seeks to develop an optical phased array (64 X 64 elements) capable of agile (greater than 4x106 o/sec) beam-steering with a high degree of side-lobe suppression (30 dB) and a wide field of view (-45o to +45o) based on PIC technology. Such arrays will require the integration and precise relative electronic phase control of thousands of closely packed optical emitting facets within a very small form factor. By developing this array of emitters with multiple degrees of freedom for phase control, the SWEEPER program not only enables agile beam steering but also beam forming and multiple beam generation, greatly expanding the diversity of applications.
SWEEPER technology will enable optical phased arrays analogous to the RF phased arrays that had a revolutionary impact on several RADAR applications including multitarget tracking for fire control systems and directed beams for low probability-of-intercept communications. The compact implementations enabled by PIC technology will be particularly important for small, SWAP-limited, platforms. The potential application domain for this program is broad; envisioned applications include surveillance, 3D imaging, precision targeting, guidance, navigation, and chem-bio sensing, and enabling new in vivo diagnostic and surgical techniques.
Dr. Josh Conwayjoshua.email@example.com