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Pixel-processing imager development for directed energy applications

Summary

Tactical high-energy laser (HEL) systems face a range of imaging-related challenges in wavefront sensing, acquiring and tracking targets, selecting the HEL aimpoint, and assessing lethality. Accomplishing these functions in a timely fashion may be limited by competing requirements on total field of regard, target resolution, signal to noise, and focal plane readout bandwidth. In this paper, we explore the applicability of an emerging pixel-processing imager (PPI) technology to these challenges. The on-focal-plane signal processing capabilities of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory PPI technology have recently been extended in support of directed energy applications. We describe this work as well as early results from a new PPI-based short-wave-infrared focal plane readout capable of supporting diverse applications such as low-latency Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensing, centroid computation, and Fitts correlation tracking.
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Summary

Tactical high-energy laser (HEL) systems face a range of imaging-related challenges in wavefront sensing, acquiring and tracking targets, selecting the HEL aimpoint, and assessing lethality. Accomplishing these functions in a timely fashion may be limited by competing requirements on total field of regard, target resolution, signal to noise, and focal...

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Time delay integration and in-pixel spatiotemporal filtering using a nanoscale digital CMOS focal plane readout

Summary

A digital focal plane array (DFPA) architecture has been developed that incorporates per-pixel full-dynamic-range analog-to-digital conversion and orthogonal-transfer-based realtime digital signal processing capability. Several long-wave infrared-optimized pixel processing focal plane readout integrated circuit (ROIC) designs have been implemented, each accommodating a 256 x 256 30-um-pitch detector array. Demonstrated in this paper is the application of this DFPA ROIC architecture to problems of background pedestal mitigation, wide-field imaging, image stabilization, edge detection, and velocimetry. The DFPA architecture is reviewed, and pixel performance metrics are discussed in the context of the application examples. The measured data reported here are for DFPA ROICs implemented in 90-nm CMOS technology and hybridized to HgxCd1-xTe (MCT) detector arrays with cutoff wavelengths ranging from 7 to 14.5 m and a specified operating temperature of 60 K-80 K.
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Summary

A digital focal plane array (DFPA) architecture has been developed that incorporates per-pixel full-dynamic-range analog-to-digital conversion and orthogonal-transfer-based realtime digital signal processing capability. Several long-wave infrared-optimized pixel processing focal plane readout integrated circuit (ROIC) designs have been implemented, each accommodating a 256 x 256 30-um-pitch detector array. Demonstrated in this...

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InP-based single-photon detector arrays with asynchronous readout integrated circuits

Summary

We have developed and demonstrated a highduty- cycle asynchronous InGaAsP-based photon counting detector system with near-ideal Poisson response, roomtemperature operation, and nanosecond timing resolution for near-infrared applications. The detector is based on an array of Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes coupled to a custom integrated circuit that provides for lossless readout via an asynchronous, nongated architecture. We present results showing Poisson response for incident photon flux rates up to 10 million photons per second and multiple photons per 3-ns timing bin.
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Summary

We have developed and demonstrated a highduty- cycle asynchronous InGaAsP-based photon counting detector system with near-ideal Poisson response, roomtemperature operation, and nanosecond timing resolution for near-infrared applications. The detector is based on an array of Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes coupled to a custom integrated circuit that provides for lossless readout via...

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Design approaches for digitally dominated active pixel sensors: leveraging Moore's law scaling in focal plane readout design

Summary

Although CMOS technology scaling has provided tremendous power and circuit density benefits for innumerable applications, focal plane array (FPA) readouts have largely been left behind due to dynamic range and signal-to-noise considerations. However, if an appropriate pixel front end can be constructed to interface with a mostly digital pixel, it is possible to develop sensor architectures for which performance scales favorably with advancing technology nodes. Although the front-end design must be optimized to interface with a particular detector, the dominant back end architecture provides considerable potential for design reuse. In this work, digitally dominated long wave infrared (LWIR) active pixel sensors with cutoff wavelengths between 9 and 14.5 um are demonstrated. Two ROIC designs are discussed, each fabricated in a 90-nm digital CMOS process and implementing a 256 x 256 pixel array on a 30-um pitch. In one of the implemented designs, the feasibility of implementing a 15-um pixel pitch FPA with a 500 million electron effective well depth, less than 0.5% non-linearity in the target range and a measured NEdT of less than 50 mK at f/4 and 60 K is demonstrated. Simple on-FPA signal processing allows for a much reduced readout bandwidth requirement with these architectures. To demonstrate the potential for commonality that is offered by a digitally dominated architecture, this LWIR sensor design is compared and contrasted with other digital focal plane architectures. Opportunities and challenges for application of this approach to various detector technologies, optical wavelength ranges and systems are discussed.
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Summary

Although CMOS technology scaling has provided tremendous power and circuit density benefits for innumerable applications, focal plane array (FPA) readouts have largely been left behind due to dynamic range and signal-to-noise considerations. However, if an appropriate pixel front end can be constructed to interface with a mostly digital pixel, it...

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Design of an optical photon counting array receiver system for deep-space communications

Summary

Demand for increased capacity in deep-space to Earth communications systems continues to rise as sensor data rates climb and mission requirements expand. Optical freespace laser communications systems offer the potential for operating at data rates 10 to 1000 times that of current radiofrequency systems. A key element in an optical communications system is the Earth receiver. This paper reviews the design of a distributed photon-counting receiver array composed of four meter-class telescopes, developed as a part of the Mars Laser Communications Demonstration (MLCD) project. This design offers a cost-effective and adaptable alternative approach to traditional large, single-aperture receive elements while preserving the expected improvement in data rates enabled by free-space laser communications systems. Key challenges in developing distributed receivers and details of the MLCD design are discussed.
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Summary

Demand for increased capacity in deep-space to Earth communications systems continues to rise as sensor data rates climb and mission requirements expand. Optical freespace laser communications systems offer the potential for operating at data rates 10 to 1000 times that of current radiofrequency systems. A key element in an optical...

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Arrays of InP-based avalanche photodiodes for photon counting

Summary

Arrays of InP-based avalanche photodiodes (APDs) with InGaAsP absorber regions have been fabricated and characterized in the Geiger mode for photon-counting applications. Measurements of APDs with InGaAsP absorbers optimized for 1.06 um wavelength show dark count rates (DCRs)
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Summary

Arrays of InP-based avalanche photodiodes (APDs) with InGaAsP absorber regions have been fabricated and characterized in the Geiger mode for photon-counting applications. Measurements of APDs with InGaAsP absorbers optimized for 1.06 um wavelength show dark count rates (DCRs)

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A new compact range facility for antenna and radar target measurements

Author:
Published in:
Lincoln Laboratory Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2, June 2007, pp. 381-391.

Summary

A new antenna and radar-cross-section measurements facility consisting of four anechoic chambers has recently been constructed at Lincoln Laboratory on Hanscom Air Force Base. One of the chambers is a large compact range facility that operates over the 400 MHz to 100 GHz band, and consists, in part, of a large temperature-controlled rectangular chamber lined with radar-absorbing material that is arranged to reduce scattering; a composite rolled-edge offset-fed parabolic reflector; a robotic multi-feed antenna system; and a radar instrumentation system. Additionally, the compact range facility includes a gantry/crane system that is used to move large antennas and radar targets onto a positioning system that provides the desired aspect angles for measurements of antenna patterns and radar cross section. This compact range system provides unique test capabilities to support rapid prototyping of antennas and radar targets.
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Summary

A new antenna and radar-cross-section measurements facility consisting of four anechoic chambers has recently been constructed at Lincoln Laboratory on Hanscom Air Force Base. One of the chambers is a large compact range facility that operates over the 400 MHz to 100 GHz band, and consists, in part, of a...

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An end-to-end demonstration of a receiver array based free-space photon counting communications link

Published in:
SPIE Vol. 6304, Free-Space Laser Communications VI, 13-17 August 2006, pp. 63040H-1 - 63040H-13.

Summary

NASA anticipates a significant demand for long-haul communications service from deep-space to Earth in the near future. To address this need, a substantial effort has been invested in developing a free-space laser communications system that can be operated at data rates that are 10-1000 times higher than current RF systems. We have built an endto- end free-space photon counting testbed to demonstrate many of the key technologies required for a deep space optical receiver. The testbed consists of two independent receivers, each using a Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode detector array. A hardware aggregator combines the photon arrivals from the two receivers and the aggregated photon stream is decoded in real time with a hardware turbo decoder. We have demonstrated signal acquisition, clock synchronization, and error free communications at data rates up to 14 million bits per second while operating within 1 dB of the channel capacity with an efficiency of greater than 1 bit per incident photon.
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Summary

NASA anticipates a significant demand for long-haul communications service from deep-space to Earth in the near future. To address this need, a substantial effort has been invested in developing a free-space laser communications system that can be operated at data rates that are 10-1000 times higher than current RF systems...

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Afterpulsing in Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes for 1.06um wavelength

Summary

We consider the phenomenon of afterpulsing in avalanche photodiodes (APDs) operating in gated and free-running Geiger mode. An operational model of afterpulsing and other noise characteristics of APDs predicts the noise behavior observed in the free-running mode. We also use gated-mode data to investigate possible sources of afterpulsing in these devices. For 30-um-diam, 1.06-um-wavelength InGaAsP/InP APDs operated at 290 K and 4 V overbias, we obtained a dominant trap lifetime of td=0.32 us, a trap energy of 0.11 eV, and a baseline dark count rate 245 kHz.
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Summary

We consider the phenomenon of afterpulsing in avalanche photodiodes (APDs) operating in gated and free-running Geiger mode. An operational model of afterpulsing and other noise characteristics of APDs predicts the noise behavior observed in the free-running mode. We also use gated-mode data to investigate possible sources of afterpulsing in these...

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Summary of the EO-1 ALI performance during the first 2.5 years on-orbit

Published in:
SPIE Vol. 5151, Earth Observing Systems VIII, 3-8 August 2003, pp. 574-585.

Summary

The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) is a VNIR/SWIR, pushbroom instrument that is flying aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) spacecraft. Launched on November 21, 2000, the objective of the ALI is to flight validate emerging technologies that can be infused into future land imaging sensors. During the first two and one-half years on-orbit, the performance of the ALI has been evaluated using on-board calibrators and vicarious observations. The results of this evaluation are presented here. The spatial performance of the instrument, derived using stellar, lunar, and bridge observations, is summarized. The radiometric stability of the focal plane and telescope, established using solar, lunar, ground truth, and on-board sources, is also provided.
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Summary

The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) is a VNIR/SWIR, pushbroom instrument that is flying aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) spacecraft. Launched on November 21, 2000, the objective of the ALI is to flight validate emerging technologies that can be infused into future land imaging sensors. During the first two and one-half...

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