Who doesn’t love laser guns? We have been dreaming of these in books and movies for decades, and finally, after all this time, they have started to show up in our world. However, while the idea may be simple, the application is not.
This research program seeks to understand and describe the effects of mechanical vibration upon the laser optical train, and subsequently the effect upon the laser power delivery.
Laser weapon systems are only as effective as their ability to apply power on target, and distortions caused by mechanical vibration convert the system from a weapon to a flashlight. When attempting to defend against an opponent, do you want a laser or a flashlight?
Mechanical vibration causes misalignment of the optical components, and due to the nonlinear nature of the optical elements, results in nontrivial alterations of the laser beam. Proper characterization enables superior beam control and mitigation of the deleterious platform vibration effects.
The main effort of this work has been fundamental research into the interaction of the optical elements with mechanical vibration and optical path theory.