Optical phased-array ladar
November 1, 2014
We demonstrate a ladar with 0.5 m class range resolution obtained by integrating a continuous-wave optical phased-array transmitter with a Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode receiver array. In contrast with conventional ladar systems, an array of continuous-wave sources is used to effectively pulse illuminate a target by electro-optically steering far-field fringes. From the reference frame of a point in the far field, a steered fringe appears as a pulse. Range information is thus obtained by measuring the arrival time of a pulse return from a target to a receiver pixel. This ladar system offers a number of benefits, including broad spectral coverage, high efficiency, small size, power scalability, and versatility.