Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Photonics, Optics and Lasers

Science and technology dealing with the transmission and manipulation of light

Showing 3 results for Photonics + Spectroscopy RSS
The process of detecting light—whether with our eyes, cameras or other devices—is at the heart of a wide range of civilian and military applications, including light or laser detection and ranging (LIDAR or LADAR), photography, astronomy, quantum information processing, medical imaging, microscopy and communications. But even the most advanced detectors of photons—the massless, ghostlike packets of energy that are the fundamental units of light—are imperfect, limiting their effectiveness. Scientists suspect that the performance of light-based applications could improve by orders of magnitude if they could get beyond conventional photon detector designs—perhaps even to the point of being able to identify each and every photon relevant to a given application.
Only a few decades ago, finding a particular channel on the radio or television meant dialing a knob by hand, making small tweaks and adjustments to hone in on the right signal. Of course, we now take such fine tuning for granted, simply pressing a button to achieve the same effect. This convenience is enabled by radio frequency synthesis, the generation of accurate signal frequencies from a single reference oscillator.
The Direct On-Chip Digital Optical Synthesizer (DODOS) program seeks to create a technological revolution in optical frequency control analogous to the disruptive advances in microwave frequency control in the 1940s. That early development ushered in a new era for microwave technology, transformed modern warfare, and has since been enabling a multitude of Department of Defense (DoD) and civilian capabilities, including radar, navigation technologies, and satellite and terrestrial communications. Extending frequency control to the optical regime is anticipated to greatly extend the technology base for the next generation of warfighter and other capabilities.