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  • Aculight Gets $2M to Enhance Fiber Laser Performance
Jul 2006
BOTHELL, Wash., July 12, 2006 -- Laser technology developer Aculight Corp. has secured four new contracts totaling more than $2 million to enhance the capabilities of its Picasso line of erbium-ytterbium fiber lasers and 1-µm ytterbium fiber lasers for applications ranging from undersea communications to three-dimensional laser radar (LADAR).

Under a $70,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command has contracted Aculight to develop a compact blue/green fiber laser for high-speed undersea communications. Fiber lasers are desirable for this application because they offer efficient operation from a compact package in rugged environments where power is a premium. Also, green light provides increased underwater transmission; Aculight demonstrated over 60W of green optical power from a fiber laser in 2004.

Under a Navy Phase II SBIR contract for $750,000, Aculight will develop a compact, efficient, green fiber laser for use in extended range underwater imaging. The company will work with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego to integrate the laser into a novel imager for inclusion on underwater unmanned vehicles. The system will provide substantial increases in sensitivity and optical resolution over previous imagers, enabling threat detection in turbid coastal and harbor waters.

Aculight will produce a high-peak-power, 1.5-µm erbium-ytterbium fiber laser for integration into a 3-D LADAR system under an Air Force Phase II SBIR contract for $750,000. While current 3-D LADAR systems are effective for real-time 3-D image generation, new LADAR seeker concepts will incorporate additional discriminants to improve target identification. Aculight's technology will generate high peak and average power, multi-kHz repetition-rate pulses at eye-safe wavelengths with diffraction-limited, polarized output.

The Naval Air Warfare Center also contracted Aculight to build a multichannel, high-peak-power, eye-safe fiber-laser transmitter for a multifunction LADAR system to undergo captive flight tests aboard a T-39 aircraft.

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fiber laser
A laser in which the lasing medium is an optical fiber doped with low levels of rare-earth halides to make it capable of amplifying light. Output is tunable over a broad range and can be broadband. Laser diodes can be used for pumping because of the fiber laser's low threshold power, eliminating the need for cooling.
Electromagnetic radiation detectable by the eye, ranging in wavelength from about 400 to 750 nm. In photonic applications light can be considered to cover the nonvisible portion of the spectrum which includes the ultraviolet and the infrared.
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