Military optics scientists at the U.S. Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Va., needed research in flexible membrane optical mirrors for spectroscopic and imaging sensors. They found their solution from the Sensors & Space Systems group of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. in San Diego.
The Office of Naval Research awarded Kratos (Nasdaq:KTOS) a contract in excess of $1 million for membrane optical mirror research to reduce the cost and complexity of optical sensors for ground and airborne sensors, Kratos announced today. The goal of the program is to use electrical signals to adjust the shape of large optical mirrors.
This approach would enable optical designers to adjust the focus and the zoom level of an optical system with no moving parts. Today sensor designers use a combination of moving mirrors and lenses to make these adjustments. Although this method has been used for decades, it creates bulky, heavy mechanisms that require a significant amount of time to adjust.
"We envision our approach will result in the ability to dynamically change the zoom, allowing sensor operators to track several targets simultaneously while maintaining awareness of the overall situation," says Greg A. Finney, group director and principal investigator for the program at Kratos.
The Kratos Sensors & Space Systems group will conduct this research in collaboration with its partners Advanced Optical Systems Inc. in Huntsville, Ala., and NeXolve Corp. in Huntsville, Ala