Pixel-processing imager development for directed energy applications
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.