MZA Dayton Hosts Adaptive-Optics Laboratory
2007-11-01 12:00:00

The Dayton office now hosts an optics laboratory for testing promising AO technologies. The laboratory hardware includes laser sources, spatial light modulators, optical components, polymer deformable mirrors, wavefront sensors, scoring cameras, and support electronics for proving AO beam control approaches previously simulated using WaveTrain. Our current tests focus on compensation of aero-optical disturbances on aircraft-based lasers using advanced control approaches for directed energy and laser communication applications. MZA recently added 2 new staff members for Dayton laboratory operations, both graduates of the University of Dayton’s Electro-Optics graduate program.

Richard Drye holds B.S.E.E. (2002, U.D.) and M.S. Electro-Optics (2005, U.D.) degrees with a background in optics, infrared measurements, control systems, MATLAB modeling and graphical-user-interface (GUI) development. As a research engineer at Mission Research, Richard was a major contributor of analysis tools and GUI’s for MATLAB toolboxes such as SCALE and SHaRE, and ABLPAT (AirBorne Laser Performance and Analysis Toolkit), providing a highly-integrated and comprehensive engagement modeling capability for ABL. Richard’s work experience includes a position in ATK’s Infrared Measurements Group where he developed/tested infrared targets and made detailed emissivity measurements. He also assembled a system to control an IR environmental chamber for emissivity/reflectivity measurements and programmed the laboratory control logic.

Jeff Widiker's professional degrees include: B.S. Engineering Physics (2001, University of Wisconsin-Platteville) and M.S. Electro-Optics (2004, U.D.). As a co-op student in the Sensors Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/SN), Jeff developed a novel design method for a high-speed 2-D Shack-Hartmann wave-front sensor operating at 1 MHz frame rate, and utilized it to perform simultaneous wave-front and flow diagnostics to study aero-optical effects. At AFRL, Jeff also worked with liquid-crystal based spatial light modulators (SLMs), using them for wave-front manipulation. Jeff continued his work with SLM technology at ATK Mission Research, refining SLM calibration techniques to simulate atmospheric turbulence and other wave-front aberrations in a laboratory setting. Jeff also served as the optical hardware lead for the combined (RF/EO) aperture program for the Optical Signatures and Sensors group.