Abstract

Using conventional volume-holographic angle multiplexing in an Fe:LiNbO3 crystal, we have developed a compact laser threat discriminator, intended for aircraft integration, that optically detects laser spatial coherence and angle of arrival while simultaneously rejecting incoherent background sources, such as the Sun. The device is intended for a specific type of psychophysical laser attack against U.S. Air Force pilots, namely, third-world-country exploitation of inexpensive and powerful cw Ar-ion or doubled Nd:YAG lasers in the visible spectrum to blind or disorient U.S. pilots. The component does not solve the general tactical laser weapon situation, which includes identifying precision-guided munitions, range finders, and lidar systems that use pulsed infrared lasers. These are fundamentally different threats requiring different detector solutions. The device incorporates a sequence of highly redundant, simple black-and-white warning patterns that are keyed to be reconstructed as the incident laser threat, playing the role of an uncooperative probe beam, changes angle with respect to the crystal. The device tracks both azimuth and elevation, using a nonconventional hologram viewing system. Recording and playback conditions are simplified because nonzero cross talk is a desirable feature of this discriminator, inasmuch as our application requires a nonzero probability of detection for arbitrary directions of arrival within the sensor’s field of view. The device can exploit phase-matched grating trade-off with probe-beam wavelength, accommodating wavelength-tunable threats, while still maintaining high direction-of-arrival tracking accuracy.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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