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27 January 2004 Hybrid laser beam steerer for laser communications applications
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Omniwrist is a new sensor mount developed under the Air Force funding that emulates the kinematics of a human wrist. Driven by two linear motors and equipped with a dedicated computer implementing advanced control laws, it is capable of a full 180° hemisphere of pitch/yaw motion and demonstrates performance characteristics comparable with an electro-mechanical beam steering system. While exceeding the bandwidth requirements for the coarse beam steering task, Omniwrist’s dynamic response is much slower than the one of the acousto-optic device (Bragg cell) that is virtually inertia-free. At the same time, the steering range of a Bragg cell, ± .5°, is too small for many applications. The authors have been successful in the enhancement of the design and development of control laws improving its dynamic characteristics of a Bragg cell. This paper presents the research aimed at the development of a hybrid laser beam steering system comprising Bragg cells installed on the Omniwrist platform. An optimal control strategy facilitating such applications as scanning, search, rapid repositioning, tracking, feedback and feedforward compensation of environmental vibration of the optical platform (satellite-based and airborne) has been developed, implemented and tested. This includes the solution of such underlying problems as mathematical description of the hybrid system, optimal task distribution between the “coarse” and the “fine” positioning tasks, coordination of the operation of the “coarse” and “fine” system controllers. The efficiency of the developed system in various applications will be investigated further and compared against known designs.
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Jozef Sofka, Vladimir V. Nikulin, Victor A. Skormin, and Donald J. Nicholson "Hybrid laser beam steerer for laser communications applications", Proc. SPIE 5160, Free-Space Laser Communication and Active Laser Illumination III, (27 January 2004);

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