Welcome to the Ladar and Optical Communications Institute (LOCI)

LOCI Beacon Assembly Mauna Loa

LOCI serves the LADAR and free space optical communications community by developing highly qualified engineers for leadership in the field. They conduct research on component technology to demonstrate unprecedented sensing, tracking, identification, and access to information.


LOCI is an Air Force center of excellence for laser radar (LADAR) research and graduate study.

Free space laser communication (FSOC) comes under the LOCI purview, since many aspects of LADAR and FSOC are synergistic. LOCI performs advanced laser radar research in pre-competitive areas. We seek and encourage industry participation and fulfill educational needs as well as develop research directions.

LOCI is a collaboration between AFRL, AFIT, the University of Dayton, and the LADAR/FSOC communities. We provide graduate education in these areas with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electro-optics as well as a LADAR certificate program.  For more information, click on a link below:

LOCI is the place to be for graduate education in LADAR and FSOC.

Collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory: Develop and Implement Programs to Integrate Students and Faculty.

LOCI Apple and Darpa Projects

The goal of LOCI is to develop an Air Force Center of Excellence in LADAR and laser communication research and education.

In order to attain its goal, LOCI collaborates with the Air Force Research Laboratory to develop and implement research programs to integrate students and faculty into the research and technology development. And, in cooperation with AFIT, LOCI develops relevant LADAR curriculum, constructs and maintains state-of-the-art laboratories on campus, as well as develops and cultivates industrial and academic partnerships.

Active multi-spectral foliage penetration

* Oblique angle of incidence penetration and scattering of light from a canopy.
* Extensive Monte Carlo calculations to understand the phenomenology.
* Experiments on local canopy gap fractions.
* Analysis of data and comparison with MC calculations.

Multi-frequency chirped laser pulses for improved range resolution

This research examines the theoretical and experimental aspects of multiple laser line linear frequency chirped signal processing for improving range resolution. Calculations established that a factor of two improvement in range resolution could be achievable with two chirped frequencies. Additional improvement is found for a third and fourth frequency, as well.

* Complete calculations for chirped multi-frequency laser pulses and heterodyne detection and processing of field amplitudes. Use the results to specify experimental components.
* Design and conduct experiments with two detuned lasers.

Aperture synthesis technologies

Coherent imaging research experiment using multiple apertures.

* Using phase shift technique, compute image plane phase field. Study statistical properties of computed phase field and investigate phase unwrapping techniques. Synthesize image from sub-aperture pupil plane fields measured by Phase Stepping Interferometry technique. Methods are developed to mitigate image speckle.
* Examination of alternate sparse aperture phase retrieval methods.

Non-mechanical beamsteering for LADAR applications

A large aperture (20 mm) Faraday rotator device is being used as an R/T switch for a LADAR module. This obviates the need for a quarter-wave plate and enables linear polarization to be transmitted. The project will experimentally verify new concept of focal plane shifter beam steering. Different beam steerers will be examined including: Liquid crystal (LC) based beam steering devices and Electro-optic (EO) beam steering devices.

* Gaussian beam characterization using a camera and parabolic mirrors for off-axis beams.
* Understanding the polarization issues in the LC beamsteering by theoretical modeling. Integration of a beam steering subsystem (LC SLM or Risley prisms) to study component interactions with Faraday rotator and evaluated overall performance for T/R setup.
* Design and test beam steering with LC devices.

Single holographic aperture demonstration

A synthetic aperture reconstruction of a moving transmitter/receiver system to improve the resolution.

* Calculations of effects of platform vibrations and laser pulse timing jitter. Experimental design and construction based on simulations.

Non-uniform sparse aperture and sub-aperture pupil apodization

A multiple aperture project designed to improve image contrast.

* A theoretical examination of sub apertures with different radii and different opacity, starting with Golay topologies.
* Simulations to drive the MTF to higher frequencies with improved image contrast.

Laser beam propagation and interaction with simulated targets

Research on the experiments and design concepts for simulating the speckle field associated with laser propagation through the atmosphere and scattered from a scattering target.

* Experiments and design concepts for simulating the speckle field associated with laser propagation through the atmosphere and scattered from a scattering target.
* Theoretical simulations on partially coherent light fields to anchor the experimental results and modeling approach.

Testbed design and implementation

LOCI researchers in cooperation with AFRL researchers are designing and building a multi-aperture testbed with visible and NIR capabilities to examine the optical components and post-processing approaches to multi-aperture imaging.

Featured Profiles

Name & Title

Partha Banerjee

Professor and Director, Electro-Optics; Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering


Email: Partha Banerjee

Phone: 937-229-3561 Email: pbanerjee1@udayton.edu

Bradley Duncan

Executive Director, Graduate Academic Affairs; Professor, Electro-Optics; Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering


Email: Bradley Duncan

Phone: 937-229-2390

Russell Hardie

Professor; Joint Appointment with Bioengineering Graduate Program


Email: Russell Hardie

Phone: 937-229-3178

Paul McManamon

Technical Director, Ladar and Optical Communications Institute (LOCI)


Email: Paul McManamon

Phone: 937-344-3921 (cell)

Andrew Sarangan

Professor, Electro-Optics and Electrical Engineering


Email: Andrew Sarangan

Phone: 937-229-3190 or 937-229-1037

Mikhail Vorontsov

Professor, Electro-Optics Graduate Program; Director, Intelligent Optics Laboratory; Endowed Chair, LADAR


Email: Mikhail Vorontsov

Phone: 937-229-2797

Qiwen Zhan

Professor, Electro-Optics Graduate Program; Managing Director, UD-Fraunhofer Joint Research Center


Email: Qiwen Zhan

Phone: 937-229-5590


Lockheed MartinNorthrop GrummanBoeingRaytheonBAE SystemsTextron Systems


LOCI Spherical Mirror

LOCI membership is comprised of representatives from the LOCI constituencies: government (AFRL and AFIT), UD, and industry.

Industry membership requires a donation of $250,000, which may be contributed at a minimum level of $50,000 per year over five years (total of $250,000). Initially, the funds were used to endow a LOCI chaired professor. UD also contributed $1,500,000 toward the endowed LOCI chair position. The membership fee provides Lifetime Membership with a voting seat on the Board of Governors (BOG) and membership in the University of Dayton’s John Stuart Society (an honorary society that honors major contributors to the University).

The BOG Chair position will come from industry sponsors and each Chair’s term is one year. The BOG will determine conditions for membership beyond the founding members.



Fitz Hall 580 
300 College Park 
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2950