In recent years, UCLA has established a comprehensive research program in high-performance control of laser beams for high energy laser systems, target tracking and laser communications. UCLA’s contributions include multi channel adaptive control and filtering for prediction and correction of higher-order wave front errors, as well as beam steering by adaptive control to reject jitter and track fast moving targets. The two problem categories are closely related and are both present in adaptive optics systems. Adaptive control of higher-order wave front errors, usually referred to as adaptive optics, involves control loops with many, often hundreds of channels corresponding to spatially distributed wave front sensor measurements and deformable mirror actuators; adaptive control of tilt jitter and target tracking involve two control channels and two or more sensor signals, but usually much higher temporal orders of the adaptive filter. High fidelity wave-optics simulations of directed energy systems, as well as beam control experiments, have shown significant performance improvements with UCLA’s adaptive control methods.
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