The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Lucent Technologies two contracts valued at $26 million - a contract worth $13.4 million for the second phase of the Coherent Communications Imaging and Targeting (CCIT) program, as well as a $12.5 million contract for the Integrated Router Interconnected Spectrally (IRIS) program. The goal of the CCIT program is to demonstrate new technologies for doing high-speed and long-range laser communication, while IRIS will focus on the next-generation of super-fast, ultra-high capacity optical communications.
Today's announcement marks the third advanced research and development contract Lucent has received in as many months valued at $37.4 million. In February, Lucent was awarded a one-year, $11.5 million award to research, develop and demonstrate an ultra-high capacity, highly secure ad-hoc wireless communications system for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Mobile Networked Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MIMO) program.
"Lucent has made serving the government market a major focus and the work being done by Bell Labs is a major reason for our growing success," said Rick Miller senior vice president, Government Solutions for Lucent. "Backed by world-renowned Bell Labs research and development, Lucent is at the forefront of creating solutions that greatly enhance the communications capabilities of our government customers."
Under the CCIT contract awarded by DARPA, Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs and the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium (NJNC) will lead a team to research and develop new secure, high-speed and long-range laser-based communication technologies. The CCIT program addresses the critical need for secure high-data-rate communications and imaging from land, sea and airborne platforms to space. The resulting system will offer communication up-link speeds in the multi-gigabit per-second range as well as provide aberration free three-dimensional imaging at distances of more than 1,000 kilometers.
"Our team is pushing the boundaries of what's technically possible by leveraging innovative design concepts to integrate photonics and high-speed electronics into one system to provide a quantum leap in laser-based communications," said Dave Bishop, vice president of nanotechnology research at Lucent's Bell Labs and president of the NJNC.
One of the key enabling technologies for the CCIT project are Micro Electric Mechanical System (MEMS) Spatial Light Modulators, which will make it possible to manipulate light in ways not previously possible, which will enable high speed optical communications links. The NJNC will develop the MEMS technology using some of the world's most sophisticated equipment for the fabrication of nanotechnology devices and materials.
The CCIT research should be completed by March 2006, and this platform will be realistically field demonstrated with the Air Force shortly thereafter.
"The result of this work will be a scalable prototype system that will digitally manipulate optical beams, like radio beams are manipulated today, enabling better communications over farther distances," said Mike Geller, vice president of Lucent's Government Communications Lab.