DOD STTR 24.A BAA

Active
No
Status
Closed
Release Date
November 29th, 2023
Open Date
January 3rd, 2024
Due Date(s)
February 21st, 2024
Close Date
February 21st, 2024
Topic No.
N24A-T015

Topic

Polarization-enhanced, Long-range, Wide-area, High-resolution Imaging System

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: STTRPhase: Phase IYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, specifically for Phase I of the STTR program. The topic of the solicitation is "Polarization-enhanced, Long-range, Wide-area, High-resolution Imaging System" and is being conducted by the Navy. The objective of the research is to develop polarization-based techniques to improve target detection and identification and scene clutter characterization at long-range and over a wide field-of-view. The USN seeks to exploit the additional information content provided by polarization to enhance target detection and identification in challenging environments such as the ocean surface. The research will focus on developing a 3D polarization imaging system to significantly improve long-range detection and identification of targets in maritime clutter from surface-ship platforms. The system should consider all wavelength bands from UV to mm-wave and novel polarization techniques such as point-spread-function engineering or speckle correlation. The research will involve the development of hardware and algorithms in Phase I, followed by the realization of the design in Phase II. The ultimate goal is to produce a rugged system that can be field-tested under relevant maritime conditions. The project duration and funding specifics can be found on the solicitation agency's website.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Directed Energy (DE); Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Trusted AI and Autonomy

 

OBJECTIVE: Develop polarization-based techniques to improve target detection and identification and scene clutter characterization at long-range and over a wide field-of-view.

 

DESCRIPTION: Detection and identification of small targets at long range on the ocean surface is challenging due to wave clutter, reduced observation time from shadowing, and often poor target contrast. To enhance target detection and identification, the USN seeks to exploit the additional information content provided by polarization. Specifically, 3D polarization imaging has improved significantly in recent years as multiple strategies have been developed to resolve the polar and azimuthal angular ambiguities [Ref 1]. Measurement of polarization often provides increased discrimination of man-made objects from nature backgrounds, while the 3D variant could increase the likelihood of positive identification. Moreover, many new polarization-based techniques have been developed in recent years that could significantly increase performance over the conventional Stokes vector analysis, which alone often yields favorable results, but only for specific applications.

 

Within the scope of this STTR topic, the USN seeks to develop a 3D polarization imaging system to significantly improve long-range detection and identification of targets in maritime clutter from surface-ship platforms. In principle, all wavelength bands from the UV to mm-wave will be considered, although transmission and depolarization with passage through the atmosphere in the maritime environment should be considered. Novel polarization techniques, such as point-spread-function engineering [Ref 2] or speckle correlation [Ref 3], which could potentially improve depth resolution or sampling rate, are also of interest. The use of multi-point correlation functions, such as the complex degree of mutual polarization [Ref 4] or other polarization correlation functions, would be of interest if these techniques can be used to enhance target identification or discrimination in clutter. In addition to the development of imager hardware, a processing component can be anticipated, which could exploit local measurements of the environment, such as ocean wave power spectra or the air-sea temperature jump, to enable optimization of data acquisition and interpretation [Ref 5].

 

PHASE I: Develop a preliminary design of hardware and algorithms for a novel polarization-based imaging and sensing system that significantly exceeds the current state-of-the-art and enables improved detection and ID of small targets in a maritime environment at ranges beyond 1 km. Targets of shorter range are not of interest under this topic. Additionally, proposed solutions can explore polarization techniques combined with other techniques to further augment 3D image formation. The design should be supported by ample modelling and simulation results to justify construction in Phase II and by risk mitigation experiments as needed.

 

PHASE II: Develop a hardware/software realization of the design proposed under Phase I. Laboratory based testing should be completed under the Phase II effort to demonstrate the performance of the system.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Refine the design of improved ruggedness, size, weight, and power needs to broadly enable use of the system. Produce a sufficiently rugged system to enable field testing under relevant maritime conditions.

 

REFERENCES:

Li, X et al. “Polarization 3D imaging technology: a review.” Frontiers in Physics, 9 May 2023. 
Ghaneka, B. et al. “PS2F: Polarized Spiral Point Spread Function for Single-Shot 3D Sensing.” IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 1 – 12, 29 August 2022.
Du, Y. et al. “Accurate dynamic 3D deformation measurement based on the synchronous multiplexing of polarization and speckle.” Optics Letters 48 (9) ,2329 (2023).
Eshaghi, M. and Dogariu, A. “Discriminating randomly polarized fields.” Optics Letters 45 (7), 1970, (2020).
Shaw, J.A. and Churnside, J.H. “Scanning-laser glint measurements of sea-surface slope statistics.” APPLIED OPTICS 36 (18), 4202, (1997).

 

KEYWORDS: infrared imaging; polarization; polarimetric imaging; infrared; IR; electro-optical/infrared; EO/IR; maritime sensing