Lowell, MA, United States

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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2010

Multi-modal (including spatial, spectral and polarimetric) photodetectors and focal plane arrays (FPA) can dramatically enhance the target detection, tracking and identification capability of a battle field sensing system. Most existing multi-spectral polarimetric sensing systems employ dispersive optics (gratings or prisms), or external polarizer technologies to obtain spectral and polarimetric characteristics of targets. These systems are usually heavy, bulky, and unable to perform on-demand spectral-tuning and waveband selection. Due to the large format (e.g 1Kx1K) FPA and multiple wavebands and polarization states involved in a battle field sensing system, the lack of dynamic detection waveband tuning capability will result in a tremendous amount of unproductive and decision-irrelevant data. This SBIR proposal aims to develop a voltage-tunable multi-spectral polarimetric photodetector and FPA capable of adaptive waveband selection and polarization sensing with significantly reduced device size and enhanced reliability. In phase I, a preliminary adaptive multi-mode photodetector will be developed for proof-of-concept demonstration. In Phase II, an ultra-compact focal plane array (FPA) prototype with voltage-tunable waveband selections and simultaneous polarimetric imaging capability will be developed and hybridized with readout circuits. A preliminary adaptive multi-modal IR camera will be also demonstrated and delivered to Air Force Research Lab in Phase II. BENEFIT: The proposed innovation provides an enabling technology for ultra-compact adaptive multi-modal sensing imaging systems with on-demand waveband and polarization imaging capability. It forms a key building block for space and airborne target detection, identification and discrimination systems. Commercial markets include portable IR sensing and imaging systems for atmospheric pollution and drug monitoring, spectroscopy, and medical diagnostics. The technology developed herein is expected to significantly advance multispectral polarimetric imaging technologies and greatly accelerate the commercialization of the ultra-compact and portable multi-spectral polarization IR imaging technologies to meet the potential needs of the billion-dollar defense and commercial market.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.98K | Year: 2012

Middle-wave infrared (MWIR, 3-5¿¿m) photodetectors are of great importance in numerous NASA applications, including thermal remote sensing for carbon-based trace gases (CH4, CO2, and CO), heat capacity mapping for earth resource locating, environment and atmosphere monitoring, and IR spectroscopy. However, existing MWIR photodetectors are require a low operating temperature, below 77K to achieve high photodetectivity (D*). The requirement for cryogenic cooling systems adds cost, weight and reliability issues, thereby making it unsuitable for small satellite applications. This STTR project aims to develop a new photonic antenna coupled MWIR photodetector with a significantly enhanced quantum efficiency. In addition, the antenna technology would also allow a large-area signal collection with a small active area of the detector. Successfully developing the proposed innovation is expected to provide an enabling technology for ultra-compact high performance MWIR detection and imaging systems suitable for NASA's small satellite earth remote sensing applications. In phase I, the proposed photonic antenna enhanced MWIR photodetector technology will be evaluated and compared with existing technologies. The proposed photonic antenna structure will be simulated to generate an optimal design. A preliminary photonic antenna coupled MWIR photodetector will be developed for proof-of-concept demonstration. In Phase II, a prototype of the photonic antenna coupled MWIR photodetector will be developed and packaged with supporting electronics and software interfaces for laboratory demonstration.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 698.92K | Year: 2013

Photodetectors and focal plane arrays (FPAs) covering the middle-wave and longwave infrared (MWIR/LWIR) are of great importance in numerous NASA applications, including earth remote sensing for carbon-based trace gases, Lidar mapping for earth resource locating, and environment and atmosphere monitoring. Existing MWIR/LWIR photodetectors have a low operating temperature of below 77K. The requirement for cryogenic cooling systems adds cost, weight and reliability issues, making it unsuitable for satellite remote sensing applications. This STTR project aims to develop a new plasmonic photonic antenna coupled MWIR/LWIR photodetector and FPA with significantly enhanced performance and a high operating temperature. In Phase I, we developed a preliminary plasmonic photonic antenna enhanced MWIR/LWIR photodetector and demonstrated significant enhancement in photodetectivity and operating temperature. Antenna directivity is also tested and agrees with the simulation. The phase I results not only demonstrated the feasibility of achieving high performance MWIR/LWIR photodetector using the proposed innovation, but also show its promising potentials for high operating temperature FPA development. Motivated by the successful feasibility demonstration and the promising potentials, in this STTR Phase II project, we will develop a prototype of the plasmonic photonic antenna enhanced MWIR/LWIR FPA with a high operating temperature and demonstrate its earth remote sensing capability.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.98K | Year: 2015

Two-dimensional (2-D) midwave and longwave infrared (MWIR/LWIR) emitter arrays are of great importance in numerous military and commercial applications, including infrared (IR) scene generation and infrared detection system emulation, IR radiometric duplication and counter measurement, medical applications and spectroscopic trace-gas sensing. Existing technologies have limited dynamic range. This SBIR Phase I proposal aims to develop a new type of plasmonic photonic antenna (PPA) coupled MWIR/LWIR light emitting diode (LED) array with low cross-talk, high frame rate of > 400 Hz and large dynamic range of over 2,000 K. In the Phase I project, we will demonstrate the feasibility of the PPA-coupled MWIR/LWIR LED, including the epi-growth of the MWIR/LWIR LED structures, fabricating a 2x2 PPA-enhanced MWIR/LWIR LED array, and characterizing its performance the external quantum efficiency (QE), the dynamic range, the inter-pixel cross talk, and the thermal heating. In Phase II, we will develop a prototype of a large-format (4kx4k) MWIR/LWIR LED array and perform initial commercialization of the proposed highly efficient MWIR/LWIR LED emitter technology. (Approved for Public Release 15-MDA-8482 (17 November 15))


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2011

Infrared (IR) sensors and focal plane arrays (FPA) play important roles in numerous civilian and defense applications including night vision, target detection, tracking and identification, chemical and biological sensing, environment monitoring, and medical diagnostics. Because of this, IR photodetectors and FPAs are targets of reverse engineering (RE) attacks. This SBIR project aims to develop a new reverse engineering protection technology capable of providing multi-layer protections ranging from physical, electrical, structural down to material levels. Successfully perform the proposed innovation would offer an effective reverse engineering protection technology for IR sensors and FPAs. In phase I, the proposed reverse engineering protection technology will be analyzed and developed. Effectiveness of protection system against reverse engineering attacks will be evaluated. Impacts on the system performance will be investigated. In Phase II, a prototype of the IR sensor and FPA reverse engineering protection system will be developed and delivered to the program manager for on-site testing and evaluation.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.89K | Year: 2014

Hyperspectral middlewave infrared and longwave infrared (MWIR/LWIR) imaging systems capable of obtaining hundreds of narrow band (10-15 nm) spectral information of Earth's surface, the atmosphere, and land use in agriculture are of great importance in NASA's Earth remote sensing missions. Existing hyperspectral MWIR/LWIR imaging systems are bulky and heavy and thus not suitable for portable and small satellite applications. This SBIR project aims to develop an on-chip hyerspectral imaging system with integrated narrow-band (15 nm) hyperspectral filers on the pixels of the MWIR/LWIR image array. Successfully developing the proposed innovation will provide an enabling ultra-compact on-chip hyperspectral imaging technology with significantly reduced size, weight, and power consumption suitable for NASA's portable and small satellite earth remote sensing missions. In phase I, the proposed on-chip hyperspctral imaging system will be evaluated and compared with existing technologies. A preliminary MWIR/LWIR photodetector with the integrated plasmonic narrow-band filter will be fabricated and characterized. In Phase II, a prototype of the miniature on-chip mega pixel (1024x1024) MWIR/LWIR hyperspectral imaging system will be developed for laboratory demonstration.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Office for Chemical and Biological Defense | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 70.00K | Year: 2010

Longwave infrared (LWIR, 8-12µm) focal plane arrays (FPAs) play an important role in hyperspectral chemical and biological sensing. Existing thermal detectors are unable to meet the high sensitivity and fast response requirements of many hyperspectral chemical and biological sensing applications. Photodetectors and FPAs based on photon excited electron generation process can fulfill the speed and sensitivity requirements. However, they show high noise, and thus need to be cooled down to < 80 K to reduce the noise. The requirement for cryogenic cooling systems adds cost, power consumption and reliability issues, thereby making it unsuitable for standoff sensing and detections. This SBIR proposal aims to develop a new low noise highly sensitive LWIR FPA without the need of cryogenic cooling systems. Such FPA technology would significantly reduce the size weight, and power consumption and especially suitable for standoff hyperspectral chemical and biological sensing and detections. In phase I, the proposed FPA will be evaluated and compared existing FPA technologies. A preliminary FPA design will be generated to meet the requirements of standoff hyperspectral imaging systems. In Phase II, a prototype of the LWIR FPA will be developed and packaged with supporting electronics and optics components to produce a hyperspectral IR camera.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 718.65K | Year: 2012

Infrared (IR) sensors and focal plane arrays (FPA) play important roles in numerous civilian and defense applications, including night vision, missile defense, target detection, tracking and identification, chemical and biological sensing, environment monitoring, and medical diagnostics. Because of this, IR photodetectors and FPAs are targets of reverse engineering (RE) attacks. However, currently, there is no existing IR FPA protection technique that can effectively protect IR FPAs against reverse engineering in the material and the device levels. This SBIR project aims to develop a new IR sensors and FPA reverse engineering protection technology that can effectively protect IR sensors and FPAs from reverse engineering attacks. In this SBIR phase I research, we have demonstrated the effectiveness of the innovative structures in protecting IR photodetectors and FPA against XTEM, UV, and SIMS material analysis based reverse engineering. We also show that added structures can also improve the performance of the IR photodetectors. In Phase II, we will optimize the reverse engineering protection technology for IR FPAs. A prototype of reverse engineering protected IR FPAs will be developed and delivered to the Army Research Lab for on-site testing and evaluation.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Office for Chemical and Biological Defense | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.93K | Year: 2011

Longwave infrared (LWIR, 8-12µm) focal plane arrays (FPAs) play an important role in hyperspectral chemical and biological (CB) sensing and spectral imaging. Existing thermal detectors are unable to meet the high sensitivity and fast response requirements of many hyperspectral chemical and biological sensing applications. FPAs based on photon excited electron generation process can fulfill the speed and sensitivity requirements. However, they show high noise, and thus need to be cooled down to<80 K to reduce the noise. The requirement for cryogenic cooling systems adds cost, power consumption and reliability issues, thereby making it unsuitable for standoff sensing and detections. In SBIR phase I research, we have developed a new low noise LWIR photodetector, demonstrated large photoresonsivity, high photodetectivity and its chemical sensing and imaging capability. Motivated by the Phase I feasibility and advantages demonstration, In Phase II, we will optimize the LWIR photodetector and FPA technology specifically for long distance standoff CB molecule and aerosol detection and spectral sensing and mapping. A prototype of the LWIR FPA will be developed and packaged with integrated detector dewar cryocooler assembly (IDDCA) and assess interface compatibility with Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC)'s existing CB molecule and aerosol spectral sensing system.


Patent
Applied NanoFemto Technologies, LLC | Date: 2015-11-13

Methods and systems for on-chip hyperspectral or multispectral imaging are disclosed, including providing an imaging system comprising one or more detectors; plasmonic hyperspectral or multispectral filters integrated onto each pixel of the IR FPA; and electrical interconnections to the IR FPA; and exposing the imaging system to electromagnetic radiation reflected from an area and using the imaging system to generate a hyperspectral image of the area. Other embodiments are described and claimed.

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