6 March 2014 Infrared Risley beam pointer
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Abstract
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (BATC) has developed a Risley Beam Pointer (RBP) mechanism capable of agile slewing, accurate pointing and high bandwidth. The RBP is comprised of two wedged prisms that offer a wide Field of Regard (FOR) and may be manufactured and operated with diffraction limited optical quality. The tightly packaged mechanism is capable of steering a 4 inch beam over a 60° half angle cone with better than 60 μrad precision. Absolute accuracy of the beam steering is better than 1 mrad. The conformal nature of the RBP makes it an ideal mechanism for use on low altitude aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. Unique aspects of the opto-mechanical design include i) thermal compliance to maintain bearing preload and optical figure over a wide temperature range; and ii) packaging of a remote infrared sensor that periodically reports the temperature of both prisms for accurate determination of the index of refraction. The pointing control system operates each prism independently and employs an inner rate loop nested within an outer position loop. Mathematics for the transformation between line-of-sight coordinates and prism rotation are hosted on a 200 MHz microcontroller with just 516 KB of RAM.
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Steven T. Harford, Homero Gutierrez, Michael Newman, Robert Pierce, Tim Quakenbush, John Wallace, Michael Bornstein, "Infrared Risley beam pointer", Proc. SPIE 8971, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVI, 89710P (6 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2039494; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2039494
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