Dome Coherent Fiber Optic Directional Sensor

Dome Coherent Fiber Optic Directional Sensor

Docket: UAH-P-10012


Researchers at UAH have developed a novel hemispherical directional/tracking sensor for bright objects. The directional/tracking sensor can operate over the spectral range from 350 nm to 3200 nm (UV-VIS-NIR) with the capability of operating in military wavelengths of MIR (3-5 microns), and FIR (8-12 microns). This significant scientific advancement replaces the use of traditional optics such as lenses or mirrors with coherent optical fiber array technology. The technology allows light from an object to be coupled into a series of local fiber bundles and channeled down to a focal plane array. The spot centroid defines the angular position of the bright object in terms of its azimuth and elevation.

The optical head has a wide field view and consists of two surfaces: the front surface, which is dome shaped, and a flat back surface. The optical head is comprised of thousands of glass optical fibers that peer out in very specific directions. Thus azimuth & elevation of the detected object is directly related to an X-Y coordinate on the flat surface of the sensor. A focal plane is located on the flat surface allowing each pixel in the array to be tied to a specific staring direction. Each fiber on the dome surface has a finite numerical aperture that determines its local instantaneous field-of-view (IFOV). Therefore, any bright distant object in the IFOV, as defined by the fiber, will have its light channeled directly to a specific pixel location, providing the object’s azimuth and elevation angular position. For example, bright objects could include a missile in boost phase such as an anti-aircraft missile, RPG, or ballistic missile. The dome sensor is excellent for sensing directionally.


  • Missile detection
  • Ground vehicles, helicopters, UAVs, large surveillance aircraft and ships
  • Tracking devices
  • Early warning system for aircraft (civilian & military)


  • Cost effective
  • Simple
  • Fast
  • Accurate


  • State of Development: Prototype
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patented