Patent number 8558152 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A variety of guidance systems are used in military applications. As one example, semi-active laser (SAL) designation is used in military systems to designate targets and guide a missile or other weapon to the target. In a typical SAL system, the operator of a SAL designator fires a narrow pulsed laser beam at a target. The SAL designator may be man-portable or carried by a designator aircraft such as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
"The laser beam fired by the SAL designator reflects off the target to provide a reflected spot that can be detected by a SAL sensing system. When the designated target is within range, the SAL sensing system starts processing the detected returns to detect the spot, acquire the designated target and to verify that the SAL designator was the source. The SAL sensing system includes processing equipment for generating guidance commands from the pulse-stream to guide the weapon to impact.
"The SAL system thus provides the ability to precisely guide weapons to a designated target. Furthermore, the SAL system provides a 'man-in-the-loop' capability that is preferred in many battlefield situations.
"One issue in SAL systems is the wavelength (and thus frequency) of the laser beam used to designate targets. In current implementations, SAL designators have been limited to wavelengths that are not desirable for all applications. For example, because of limitations in current SAL sensing systems, current SAL designators have been limited to wavelengths for which inexpensive commercial detectors are readily available. The availability of such detectors makes it easier for third parties to detect the use SAL designators during combat. Unwanted detection of SAL use by third parties can lead to a variety of negative outcomes.
"Thus, there remains a continuing need for SAL systems in general, and SAL sensing systems in particular that can be adapted to use different radiation wavelengths. Other desirable features and characteristics of the present invention will become apparent from the subsequent Detailed Description and the appended Claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings and this Background."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "A semi-active laser (SAL) sensing system is provided that uses a lens concentrator system to pass received reflected laser light from an aperture to a detector. The lens concentrator system facilitates the use of SAL systems with different laser designator wavelengths to improve the performance of the SAL system.
"In one embodiment, the lens concentrator system is formed from polymer having substantial optical clarity for electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths between 1.5 and 2.0 .mu.m. In one such implementation, the lens concentrator system is formed from an amorphous fluoropolymer. The lens concentrator system formed from amorphous fluoropolymer facilitates the use SAL designators using different wavelengths than those in past SAL sensing systems. For example, the amorphous fluoropolymer lens concentrator system may facilitate the use lasers in SAL designators that are not detectable with detectors that are readily available to the general public, or in some countries due to export controls. Additionally, the amorphous fluoropolymer lens concentrator system may facilitate the use SAL designators that are less likely to cause eye injury.
"Thus, when properly configured, the amorphous fluoropolymer lens concentrator system provides the optical path needed between the SAL sensing system aperture and the detector, and facilitates the use laser designator wavelengths that improve the performance of the SAL system."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Roncone,
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