New Laser Portends Breakthrough In Directable IRCM Systems
NASHUA, NH, 28-MAR-00 -- Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company, has announced the successful demonstration of an infrared multiband laser with unprecedented efficiency and power output. Evan Chicklis, Director of Laser and Electro-Optic Technology with Sanders' Advanced Systems & Technology, said that the laser system - built to fit the Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) system - demonstrated simultaneous output power of five watts in Infrared Band I; 0.5 watts in Band II; and five watts in Band IV. These bands denote the portions of the infrared spectrum in which the guidance units of IR missiles commonly operate.
Just a few years ago the generation of these levels of power in the IRCM bands was unachievable even in the laboratory, Chicklis said. The remarkable result is that we've demonstrated this power in a packaged device with an unprecedented seven percent 'wall plug' efficiency.
Wall plug efficiency refers to a level of energy output measured against all power input requirements. Such high output power and high efficiency in a compact, packaged device represents a true breakthrough capability for multi-platform protection by directable IRCM systems, Chicklis added.
Sanders developed two technologies leading to a practical multiband laser. First, a unit photon decrement diode pumped solid state laser multiplies pump photons in linear and non- linear processes in the laser, which helps overcome efficiency limitations. The second breakthrough was the crystal growth and exploitation of Zinc Germanium Phosphide, a non-linear material which generates Band II and IV radiation and achieves much higher powers in these wavelength bands.
The technologies were developed at Sanders with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Air Force Material Laboratory support. Sanders is currently adapting the technologies to meet requirements of the Air Force's closed loop jamming systems for large aircraft IRCM.
Bill Devine of AS&T Business Development said the demonstration provides a quantum leap in laser technology for a single, highly-efficient compact laser to protect a wide variety of platforms.
Sanders has been developing advanced laser technology for more than 25 years in the ultraviolet to mid-infrared spectrum, and is an industry leader in diode-pumped laser technology and solid-state laser materials.
Sanders is an operating company of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, and a major producer of aircraft self-protection systems and tactical surveillance and intelligence systems for all branches of the armed forces. Other major business areas include microwave, mission and space electronics; infrared imaging; and automated mission planning systems.