||AFIT, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 454337542
Experimental research in laser physics, spectroscopy, chemical kinetics, flow dynamics, and radiative transfer form the basis for advanced laser demonstrations and the remote sensing of battle-space combustion events. Several technologies supported by the AFIT laser weapons and space surveillance research group include:
(1) Airborne Laser. The megawatt class Chemical Oxygen-Iodine Laser (COIL) is the weapon system aboard the Airborne Laser, designed to destroy theater missiles during the boost phase. AFIT has a more than 30-year history support the Air Force’s high-energy laser program. Recent AFIT research in support of COIL devices include analyzing gas phase reaction rates, developing optical diagnostics to measure the supersonic flow field conditions, including laser saturation spectroscopy and planaer laser induced fluorescence, and novel chemistry for singlet oxygen production.
(2) Gas Phase Lasers. Diode or fiber laser pumped alkali vapor lasers have emerged as scalable laser devices and we are investigating lineshapes, energy transfer kientics, and laser device scaling. In addition, moderate power laser sources are required for electro-optic countermeasure missions such as blinding heat-seeking missiles. We are investigating photolytic gas phase laser systems and nonlinear optical techniques to develop new lasers operating in the near infrared at 3-5 microns.
(3) Remote Sensing. Space and airborne based surveillance systems for battlespace awareness are being developed. Applications include the classification of detonation and combustion events from spectral and imaging signatures, monocular passive ranging, chromotomography for hyperspectral imaging, and atmospheric transmission of high energy lasers. Both instrument development and basic phenomenology is stressed during field deployment and subsequent data analysis.
(4) Optical Diagnostics. New optical methods for detecting and monitoring chemical processes are in high demand. Several examples of AFIT’s activities in developing optical diagnostics include (1) assessing desorption of soil contaminants from aircraft degreasing operations, (2) studying thin-film processing from laser ablation and plasma processing, and (3) characterizing combustion chemistry. Emphasis is placed on the fundamental plume dynamics and spectroscopy in pulsed laser deposition of high-temperature superconductors to enable the manufacture of superconducting wires for aircraft power generation.
Lasers; Spectroscopy; Chemical kinetics; Chemical lasers; Optical diagnostics; Energy transfer; Remote sensing; Hyperspectral imagery; Combustion spectra;