We are developing a robust and compact photonic proximity sensor for munition applications. Successful implementation of this sensor will provide a new capability for direct fire applications. The photonic component development exploits pioneering work and unique expertise at ARDEC, ARL, and Sandia National Laboratories by combining key optoelectronic technologies to design and demonstrate components for this fuzing application. The technologies employed in the optical fuze design are vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), the p-i-n or metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) photodetectors, and miniature lenses optics. This work will culminate in a robust, fully integrated, g-hardened component design suitable for proximity fuzing applications. This compact sensor will replace costly assemblies that are based on discrete lasers, photodetectors, and bulk optics. It will be mass manufacturable and impart huge savings for such applications. The specific application under investigation is
for gun-fired munitions. Nevertheless, numerous civilian uses exist for this proximity sensor in automotive, robotics and aerospace applications. This technology is also applicable to robotic ladar and short-range 3-D imaging.