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The Ocean Visibility and Optics Laboratory at Harbor Branch was established in 2006 with the primary purpose of advancing research and development activities in undersea laser imaging, communications, and sensing technologies. Long-term goals of the program are to:
- design, fabricate, and build advanced optical sensor and imager prototypes to meet well-defined user needs
- facilitate innovative, low-cost approaches to operational oceanography via the use of high-bandwidth laser communications and networking technologies
Accommodated in the fully air-conditioned and dust-mitigated R.C. Tietze Engineering Building, the lab facilities are centered on two test tanks specifically designed for optical sensor and underwater laser research.
The large laser test tank (21 ft x 41 ft x 78 in) is surrounded by three laser laboratories, each with interchangeable optical interfaces to the water volume, where a four-degrees-of-freedom robotic positioning system or large rotating seabed apparatus can be immersed. There is a cable harness connecting the labs via two coax per lab (six total) and four twisted pairs that is accessible from any lab. Access to all coax and twisted pairs is available on the catwalk junction box as well as an additional four serial ports. A two-ton gantry platform is available above the tank for access and loading, and a novel blackout system comprised of hundreds of small plastic balls that completely block out light from the tank. The large tank can maintain stable particle suspensions up to beam attenuation coefficients of 4-5m-1.
The saltwater test tank (5 ft x 14 ft x 45 in) has recently been upgraded to be useable with dense particle suspensions up to beam attenuation coefficient of 25m-1. It has a reconfigurable filtration and circulation system and a removable set of bulkheads and viewports. For experimentation with bioluminescence instrumentation, the tank contains an isolation baffle system to insure "first flash" measurements of various organisms in the tank. It is housed in a light-tight optics laboratory. A range of biological larval or plankton cultures are available from nearby facilities on the HBOI campus.
Field work is enabled by two 1,500-meter-rated Bluefin Spray Gliders, short-pulse lidar instrumentation, several laser scanning imagers, and an inherent optical property/radiometry profiler.
For more information, contact Fraser Dalgleish.
Equipment and Instrumentation
The in-house engineers utilize advanced analog and digital electronics and other simulation tools including PADS, Agilent ADS, LabVIEW, and Matlab/Simulink to answer an array of research needs such as prototype development, simulation, and testing of new ideas
- Vibration-isolated optical bench, HEPA filtered laminar flow boxes, multitude of precision opto-electronic actuators and opto-mechanical components, galvanometric and polygon scanning systems. MEMS scanning development kits
- Single- and multi-mode lasers throughout the visible and UV spectrum including:
- Low repetition rate pulsed green laser (1 - 1000Hz; 500ps pulse duration, 40uJ pulse energy)
- Low repetition rate deep UV laser (1-1000Hz; 400ps pulse duration, 16uJ pulse energy)
- High repetition rate pulsed frequency doubled Nd:YAG (357kHz; 7 ns pulse duration FWHM, 5uJ pulse energy)
- Amplitude-modulated 405nm lasers (up to 500MHz)
- Picosecond light source for photo-detector impulse response measurements
- Continuous wave lasers: 300mW at 473nm, 3W at 532nm
- Low-power modulated red (658nm) lasers assembled as a lidar emulator
- Integrating sphere, spectral calibration sources, NBS referenced radiometric calibration sources, planar irradiance PAR sensors
- High speed gated PMTs (up to 6GHz)
- Laboratory spectrofluorometer for EEM mapping (Fluoromax-3 with 2010 version of Fluoressence software)
In situ spectrophotometers (two Wetlabs ac-9, one Wetlabs c-star)
- Custom in situ scattering meter and particle sizer with additional polarization sensitive channel (LISST-Stokes)
- Fast Digital Oscilloscope (Tektronics DPO 7254; 2.5 GHz bandwidth at 40 GSPS)
- Vector Signal Generator (80MHz to 6.6GHz) and Vector Signal Analyzer (10MHz to 6.6GHz)
- The laboratory also includes advanced analog, RF, and digital electronics design capabilities in-house to rapidly respond to research needs, prototype development and testing of new concepts