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Andover, MA, United States

Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2010

The objective of this Phase I SBIR effort is to demonstrate high wall-plug efficiency (WPE) MWIR and LWIR Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs) to enable a small, lightweight, and inexpensive battery-powered multi-spectral laser beacon for field use in identification, friend-or-foe determination, Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) operations, and small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) for close air support missions. We will design, grow, fabricate and test a new QCL design optimized for high WPE based on incorporating recent performance advancements and new design methodologies. We will also provide MWIR and LWIR QCLs to the Air Force for use in field tests of prototype laser beacons. Based on real test data and the design of a battery power pulsed laser driver, we will develop a performance model for operation of a multi-spectral laser beacon as a function of pulse width, duty-cycle and temperature of operation. We will use the performance model to formulate laboratory and field tests and metrics that will account for the targeting pod and sensor sensitivities in close support and long-range sensing scenarios. BENEFIT: The successful realization of high-efficiency Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs) will enable military and commercial Benefits. For example, hand-held field instruments such as MWIR/LWIR laser beacons and flashlights will be significant extensions of the state-of-the-art and enable enhanced capabilities and new synergies with MWIR/LWIR night vision technologies and enhanced covert operations capability. Commercially, high-efficiency QCLs enable numerous application such as sensitive, hand-held and portable chemical sensors for field use and long lifetime, low power footprint free-space optics modules.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.95K | Year: 2010

The goal of this SBIR effort is to develop an alternative technology for a new generation of high-performance type-II superlattice (SL) detectors that are suitable for MDA applications in the spectral region from 7 to 11 um and beyond and that out-perform detectors that are based on existing technology. Type-II systems offer potential advantages over MCT and conventional III-V semiconductor technologies; consequently, our focus in this effort will be to fully assess the use of type-II SL absorption regions in conjunction with recently demonstrated advanced detector architectures that are type-II-SL-based variants, in one way or another, of Maimon and Wicks’s high-operating-temperature (HOT) configuration. By varying the structure, compositions, and thicknesses of the SLs and by deliberately altering their interface structures, we will design, grow, fabricate, and test lattice-matched heterostructures whose detector properties are optimized for the wavelength bands of interest to MDA. The present Phase I proposal concentrates on three primary objectives in pursuit of the overall goal: (1) Design improved type-II detectors that incorporate blocking-layer architectures; (2) Grow and characterize a series of samples appropriate for evaluating detector material quality; (3) Grow, fabricate and test single-element prototype detectors.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.99K | Year: 2012

Maxion Technologies proposes to develop a robust, high power, monolithic widely tunable Quantum Cascade Laser (QC) laser. We plan to implement a multi-section QC laser to create a monolithically tunable device, similar to those demonstrated in the near IR for telecommunications. This laser will be tuned through application of voltage to tuning elements incorporated directly in the QC laser without the need of external tuning optics or thermal tuning of the laser assembly as a whole. As a result, this laser will be rapidly tunable and usable in field environments due to its insensitivity to shock and vibration. The spatial mode profile of this laser will be comparable to that of a conventional fixed wavelength QCL, while the tunability will make the device flexible enough to defeat potential counter-counter measures in an IRCM application. In an explosives sensing system, the wide tuning range of the device will allow for enhanced ability to discriminate against background chemicals.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.97K | Year: 2011

Maxion Technologies proposes to adopt and further develop a metrology system tailored to understanding the nature of electrically active trap states in type-II SLS IR detector materials, and demonstrate the utility of the technique as a tool for MBE material optimization. Capacitance transient spectroscopy (CTS) is a unique diagnostic technique in that it directly measures the properties of electrically active traps such as their concentration, capture and emission rates, activation energies, and it also distinguishes between majority- and minority-carrier trap types. It is spectroscopic in the sense that it can resolve the signatures from multiple traps within the same material. CTS has proven to be a powerful diagnostic tool for mature semiconductor materials such as Si, GaAs, InP, etc., but it has not been effectively utilized for type-II SLS IR detector materials. CTS has the potential to significantly improve the ability to relate device growth processes directly to the generation of defects that contribute to high dark current and limit photogenerated carrier lifetime. We will use CTS to quantify type-II SLS material quality and subsequently improve detector material quality by better understanding the nature of the defect states and their relation to MBE growth parameters and SLS interface layer treatments.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.98K | Year: 2011

Maxion will develop a monolithic, beam combined array of phase-locked, buried heterostructure (BH) quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). The laser array will be designed to emit a low divergence optical beam in a direction normal to the array surface at a wavelength centered at 4.6 microns. The monolithic laser"s cw output power will exceed 15 Watts. Each ridge waveguide in the array of will contain a second order, buried grating etched close to its optical mode along its length, which will serve to out-couple the laser radiation in a direction normal to the array. The ends of the ridges will be highly reflecting - one end will be HR coated, and the other will have a distributed Bragg reflector (DBR), so that threshold currents are kept low. BH QCL laser radiation that is transmitted through the DBR will propagate in a special planar waveguide region located between the DBRs and a parallel, HR coated end facet separated from the DBR plane by a Talbot distance. This planar waveguide region will be specially designed to efficiently phase lock the QCLs in the array by coupling their radiation through the DBR reflectors.

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