While we are always interested in taking our work in new directions, most of our research has been on laser effects and loosely related to one of the topics below.
Laser - Drop Interactions
The complexity of a maritime environment poses unique challenges for laser propagation. This work examines the interaction of a high energy laser and large water drops such as rain or sea spray. The drop thermodynamics and the optical propagation are coupled through the absorption-dependent vaporization process. Our approach is to combine single drop experiments using acoustic levitation with the development of models of laser-drop optics and thermo-fluid mechanics.
Laser Sensing and Detection
The goal of the sensing and detection work is to identify whether a surface has been touched by radiation, where that touch occurs, and to estimate characteristics of the incident radiation. USNA is currently pursuing several detection methods, including an RF switching network linked via photoconductive sensors, and an array of structurally integrated fiber Bragg grating temperature sensors.
Material Damage and Survivability
We aim to understand, model, and develop ways to mitigate the effects of a high energy laser assault on a structure, particularly a vehicle with a composite skin. Recent emphasis has been on understanding the re-radiation of heat from a laser strike on internal vehicle components.
Off-Axis Laser Detection
USNA faculty are interested in many topics related to the off-axis detection and characterization of laser light. Previous effort has involved laboratory measurements of light scattering, and investigation into the effects of beam coherence on laser scattering and propagation.