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AUSTIN, TX, United States

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2015

Statement of the Problem or Situation that is Being Addressed: Metals released into the environment from industrial processes, roadways and automobiles, belong to a class of persistent environmental toxins that often remain in contaminated locations for a long time. Water containing trace amounts of radioactive materials is also normally released from U.S. nuclear power plants under controlled, monitored conditions; recently reports have emerged on unintended, abnormal releases of radioactive liquids. Heavy metal ions and radionuclides that are widely present in the environment, lead to health problems in human beings including but not limited to damages to brain, kidney, and neural system, especially children. Statement of how this Problem or Situation is Being Addressed: Omega Optics Inc., University of Texas, Austin, TX and Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, proposes a low Cost of Ownership (COO) device comprising a label-free microarray based on multiple photonic crystal (PC) microcavity devices coupled to a photonic crystal waveguide (PCW) for the detection of multiple heavy metal ions and radionuclides simultaneously in water. The research enables a portable system that monitors heavy metal concentration, and provides high detection sensitivity, selectivity and multiplexing capability. The device can be connected to any electronic data processing equipment, or smartphone for remote monitoring and geospatial networking. What is to be done in Phase 1: In Phase 1, we will fabricate high sensitivity silicon chip integrated photonic crystal microcavity coated with antibodies and/or metal-chelate-protein conjugates individually along the photonic crystal waveguide and demonstrate highly sensitive label free detection of uranium ions in spiked artificial and real groundwater samples available with the team. Once the most sensitive sensing format has been determined combining silicon nanophotonics with metal-ion and radionuclide detection biochemistry, we will move rapidly to field testing of the prototype at the DOE Rifle Site. We will plan the multiplexed experiments for identifying several targets of interest simultaneously with less than 1ppb sensitivity in Phase 2, using integrated optics based multiplexing on chip already demonstrated. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The sensors developed in this project can be used by government inspectors, environmental monitors, household users as well as clinicians and first-responders to make informed decision about remediation and monitoring strategy and thus improve human health and quality of life. Monitoring of heavy metal toxins is important for military operations as well, to ensure safety of drinking water resources of soldiers in military bases as well as on the battlefront. The portable platform will be easily extended to medical diagnostics for field portable screening applications of cancers, allergies and infectious diseases, food pathogen detection and bio-defense. Keywords: Photonic crystal, microarray, lab-on-chip diagnostics, heavy metal and radionuclide detection, open sensor, high throughput. Summary for Members of Congress: Heavy metal ions and radionuclides released into the environment from industrial processes lead to various health hazards. We propose a low cost device for high throughput detection of above contaminants simultaneously, with additional applications in field portable screening for cancers, allergies and infectious diseases, food pathogen detection and bio-defense.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 746.58K | Year: 2014

ABSTRACT: In this program, Omega Optics, Inc., in collaboration with the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and the University of Texas at Austin, proposes to develop integrated photonic devices by using a combination of high-rate R2R nanoimprint lithography (R2RNIL) and R2R ink-jet printing. Patterning of photonic devices with sub-wavelength (<100nm) features utilizing R2RNIL will be demonstrated in an efficient, cost effective and manufacturably viable method on large area flexible substrates. Such a technology not only eliminates the bottleneck of e-beam lithography in terms of reducing time and cost, but also offers high rate (>1m/min) continuous processing. The customized R2R high-rate ink-jet print engine will provide precise placement of several functional materials, including polymers, organics, nanowires, nanotubes, nanoparticles etc, in order to form a fully functional integrated system. During the Phase I program, we proved the feasibility of our printing technology. A 2x2 TO polymer switch was developed and switching speed at 1kHz was demonstrated. We also developed an EO polymer modulator, and demonstrated operation up to 10GHz. Accurate alignment was achieved via utilization of alignment marks and an in-house developed pattern recognition software. Additionally, using a continuous R2R phase-shift lithography technique, we developed transparent conductive electrodes in aluminum, and demonstrated high transmittance of 92%. In Phase II, we will further customize the material systems and tools for R2RNIL and R2R ink-jet printing. Key manufacturing related issues, such as in-line alignment and quality control, will be addressed. Light coupling schemes, for reliably packaging the devices, will also be developed. Using printing, several photonic components, such as TO switch based reconfigurable true-time-delay lines, EO modulator arrays, light emitting diodes, acoustic detectors, reconfigurable logic, etc will be further developed and characterized. Following optimization, integration of these components to form a multifunctional communication system on a flexible substrate will also be performed. The reliability of the components and systems will be tested and improved in order to enable direct injunction of the devices into military and commercial products. These objectives are targeted at developing unique large area multifunctional integrated photonic system architectures on flexible substrates at high rates that can only be achieved with printing. BENEFIT: Potential application areas of roll-to-roll printing process for optical components on flexible substrates include a) optical waveguide arrays for optical bus architecture, clock distribution, ring resonators; b) photonic crystal based devices for resonators, optical buffers, optical delay lines, add/drop filters, true-time-delay lines for RF antenna feed systems, RF modulators, superprisms; c) grating structures for add/drop filters, delay lines, optical buffers, light coupling structures for optical waveguides; d) patterning doped/stacked multi-material nanomembranes to form photodetector arrays, image detectors, solar cells; e) plasmonic structures for high efficiency flexible solar cells, f) light sources such as LEDs etc. Other areas where such a technology is expected to have a huge impact over the next ten years include healthcare, transportation industry, security, agriculture and education, military and consumer goods. Our proposed work can realize continuous manufacturing of novel flexible photonic components and systems, thus furthering the domain of potential useful applications and increasing revenue.

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 148.15K | Year: 2016

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Many RNA DNA and protein isolation and purification techniques produce a very limited sample volume and quantity thus conventional spectrophotometric methods are impractical or impossible This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project aims at developing an integrated optics based picogram uL sensitivity nanoliter sample volume spectrophotometer The proposed aluminum oxide Al O platform exploits the absorption enhancement of optical waveguide and slow light effects and therefore is potent to achieve a sensitively improvement of orders of magnitude and reduces the sample volume by orders of magnitude compared to NanoDropTM It is also the first time that integrated optics is used at nm wavelength range PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project aims at developing an alumina waveguide based middle ultraviolet absorption spectroscopy which is capable of quantitating nuclei acids of pico gram micro liter pg L level concentration The proposed system exploits the integrated photonic technology to cost effectively integrate low loss alumina waveguides on glass slides With the slow light effect and long interaction length andquot fishboneandquot waveguide can improve the minimum quantifiable concentration by times when compared to the widely used NanoDropTM system In the meantime the minimum required sample volume is reduced by times As a proof of concept quantitation of pg L mRNA will be demonstrated in Phase I The system is designed to be operated in the same andquot drop and playandquot manner as NanoDropTM Thus customers familiar with NanoDropTM would easily adapt to the proposed new system with much better performance As many biomolecule isolation and purification techniques produce very limited samples effectively utilizing these precious and sometimes rare samples will not only reduce the research cost but more importantly shorten the research time span Through improving the minimum detectable concentration the proposed system could save more than of sample wasted in the quantitation procedure using NanoDropTM system According to our investigation there are no integrated photonics system exists in the middle ultraviolet wavelength range which could make the proposed system a profitable product with unique advantages

Agency: Department of Commerce | Branch: National Institute of Standards and Technology | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2016

Omega Optics will develop a fiber-coupled platform in strained silicon-on-sapphire (SoS) for tunable difference frequency generation in midwave infrared (MIR) with tunable continuous wave sources in the near-infrared (NIR). Stress exerted by silicon nitride on underlying silicon induces second-order nonlinear susceptibility. NIR light is coupled into silicon and MWIR light is coupled out of silicon using extensively demonstrated sub-wavelength grating couplers in both NIR and MWIR. Preliminary modal phase matched designs between pump, signal and idler indicates the potential to achieve conversion efficiency greater than 0.1W-1 with second-order nonlinear susceptibility ~10pm/V in a 1cm long silicon waveguide on sapphire. Experimentally demonstrated sub-1dB/cm propagation loss at NIR pump and signal wavelengths, ~2dB/cm propagation losses in MWIR idler wavelengths in silicon waveguides, together with less than 2.5dB insertion loss in fiber-chip polarization selective grating coupling allow high efficiency power conversion. Two-photon absorption (TPA) and in particular, TPA induced free carrier absorption (FCA), significant at MWIR will be controlled by experimentally demonstrated p-i-n geometries that reduce the silicon free carrier lifetime from nano-seconds to pico-seconds. Fabrication induced effects on coherence and geometries to achieve quasi phase matching will also be investigated, relative merits and demerits compared for implementation in Phase II.

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

Project Summary: Driven by bandwidth hungry technologies such as online video and cloud computing, the skyrocketing growth of global data traffic has no sign of halting. The total amount of content passing through the worlds networks will increase from 800,000 petabytes in 2009 to 35 zettabytes in 2020. To meet the worlds endless appetite for bandwidth, dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) system with hundreds of wavelengths has been deployed and proved to be successful. However, including more wavelengths in these systems without sacrificing non-regeneration distance and cost will soon become unrealistic due to nonlinear phenomena and noises. Since each wavelength channel in a DWDM system (usually operates at ~ 10 to 25 Gbit/sec) only uses less than 0.1 percent of its potential capacity, increasing single carrier data rate is an apparent choice. The single carrier data rate is primarily limited by the electronic time division multiplexing (TDM). At data rate beyond 100 Gbps, electronic multiplexing must be abandoned. At ultra-high bit rates beyond 1 Terabits per second (Tbps), it is only possible to perform TDM through all-optical means based on third-order nonlinearity. Plenty material platforms have been investigated, such as silicon-on-insulator and silicon nitride, but so far none of them could meet the speed and low energy consumption requirements satisfactorily. In this proposal, Omega Optics, Inc. and the University of Texas at Austin propose an all-optical TDM system using graphene oxide infiltrated subwavelength silicon waveguide ring resonator with femto-Joule all-optical switch per bit for up to THz region. Due to the extremely large Kerr coefficient of graphene oxide and tight confinement of photons in the subwavelength structure, the nonlinear parameter of this hybrid waveguide can be as large as 3.9x106 W-1m-1, which is more than four orders of magnitude larger than silicon. Therefore, the switch is capable of achieving Tbps speed with less than 1 fJ energy consumption per bit, which is more than three orders of magnitude smaller than THz switches reported so far. The proposed all-optical TDM, when operates at 1Tbps (~ 1% of the potential single carrier capacity), will increase the bandwidth of current DWDM systems by 100 times, which can meet the bandwidth demand for next 20 years without deploying new fiber cables. Even higher speed can be achieved simply by multiplexing more low speed channels. In addition, benefitting from silicon photonics technology, the proposed TDM system can be mass produced by semiconductor manufacture technologies, which will significantly reduce the cost. As the explosive growth of data traffic continues, the demand on optical TDM is believed to increase substantially. Due to its uniqueness in speed and energy consumption, the proposed TDM is believed to have a vantage position in the market. Key Words: Graphene Oxide, Subwavelength Waveguide, Silicon Photonics, All Optical Time Division Multiplexing (TDM), All Optical Switch, Kerr Nonlinearity Summary for Members of Congress: An integrated THz optical time division multiplexing system using graphene oxide and silicon photonics is proposed. It could increase the bandwidth of current DWDM systems by 100 times without deploying new fibers.

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