DARPA funds new program for secure free-space communications

June 11, 2001
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA) is teaming with academic institutions and industry to develop powerful new capabilities for multi-gigabit per second, secure, free-space communication links and aberration-free three-dimensional imaging and targeting at ranges larger than 1000 km.

Under a new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiative, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA) is teaming with academic institutions and industry to develop powerful new capabilities for multi-gigabit per second, secure, free-space communication links and aberration-free three-dimensional imaging and targeting at ranges larger than 1000 km.

Phase I of the four-year Coherent Communications, Imaging, and Targeting (CCIT) program brings together researchers from the Livermore Lab; academic institutions including Stanford University, University of California Berkeley, Boston University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology; micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS)/optoelectronics companies including Boston MicroMachines, Lucent, Maxios and MicroAssembly Technologies; and US aerospace companies. The aerospace companies, which include Ball Aerospace, Boeing, Harris, HRL Laboratories, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, TRW and the Aerospace Corp., will be potential users. HRL and TRW are also contributing to Phase-I hardware development and modeling.

According to DARPA, innovative concepts and integration of MEMS spatial light modulators, along with optoelectronics and high-speed electronics will provide affordable and high values systems for use well into the 21st century.

LLNL is the lead organization for Phase I of the two-phase project and is responsible for modeling, MEMS development coordination, the integration of MEMS, optoelectronics and high-speed electronics into a CCIT prototype system, and the demonstration of concepts. Phase I will receive $9.5 million over two years from DARPA. Phase II will be awarded on a competitive basis and led by industry.

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