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New York, NY, United States

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Office for Chemical and Biological Defense | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2011

We propose a metamaterial-enhanced microbolometer with strong absorption over a narrow band that is dynamically tunable over the 8-10 micron band. A single-layer photonic metamaterial consisting of a thin metal film perforated with a 2-D array of dielectric apertures will be deposited on an amorphous-Silicon layer acting as an absorber and bolometer. The metamaterial, in conjunction with planar dielectric layers below the absorber, will trap and concentrate a narrow frequency band within the absorbing layer while strongly reflecting out-of-band light. This design is based on a previously developed metamaterial-enhanced Si photodiode that exhibited strong absorption over a narrow width (1% of the central frequency). Tuning the absorption band across the 8-10 micron range may be achieved via MEMS actuation applied to a standard air-bridge microbolometer structure. The metamaterial may be fabricated with standard photolithography, as we have demonstrated previously, and the rest of the fabrication involves materials and processes that are standard for microbolometers. We believe this structure offers considerable advantages over a multi-layer coupled split-ring and cut wire perfect absorber approach, including: ease of fabrication due to a single-layer metamaterial, scaling up an existing design rather than scaling down, and ease of integration with existing focalplane array microbolometers.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 747.11K | Year: 2011

The objective of proposed Phase II project is to develop multi-junction Graetzel cells using a cost effective, single layer metamaterial light harvesting template into which, up to four different sets of wavelength-selective ruthenium dye complexes are deposited. The light harvesting template performs three roles: (1) spectral band splitting of the incident solar spectrum into different cavities into which different wavelength specific ruthenium compounds have been electrodeposited, (2) light concentration, and (3) serves as a heat sink to avoid the harmful effects of high temperatures. These three improvements to the traditional Graetzel cell are expected to increase the efficiency to 42% compared to ~11% for traditional Graetzel cells, resulting in a predicted module cost of 95/Watt. Certain untested aspects of our device may increase the efficiency to as high as 60%, resulting in a cost reduction to 66/Watt.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Office for Chemical and Biological Defense | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.98K | Year: 2014

We aim to create a low-cost, high-sensitivity hand-held plasmonic biosensor capable of sensing biotoxins. We will do this by using newly developed biodesign technology to create a new class of proteins which have an orders-of-magnitude increase in SPR signal-to-noise. These will be incorporated into a novel SPR device in which the transmission of light is affected by the binding of a particular toxin to the functionalized surface. Such a system will be inherently more robust and compact because all the optical components are in line with each other. These will be used in a transmission based"tricorder"device with an easily replicable disposable sensing chip.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2010

The proposed project will develop three actively configurable metamaterial of relevance to both i) MDA’s high-priority and near-term need for stray light testing and diagnosis and ii) the interceptor functions of THAAD, Ascent Phase Interceptors, MKV and Space Systems. Phoebus’s configurable metamaterials aperture arrays will consist of single-layer metallic thin films patterned with light-channeling subwavelength sized dielectric apertures. All structures will tap into the metamaterial phenomenon of anomalous optical transmission (AOT) through subwavelength sized apertures, that allow almost 100% of an incident beam to be transmitted through the structures. The apertures will be filled with electro-optical materials that exhibit tuning of their dielectric constants when a voltage is applied, hence tuning of the transmissive/reflectance properties as well. Two of the devices will be actively configurable apertures that will be will be integrated into the stray light detection system being developed by Phase I awardee, Opt-E. The third device is a light harvesting, tunable, wavelength selective transmitting/lensing metamaterial that can be switch between the transmission and lensing of MWIR and LWIR spectral bands. Phoebus has developed a realizable commercialization plan to exploit profitable markets for sensor systems, advanced optical components, polarimetric sensing and renewable energy devices using its patent-pending metamaterials.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 98.99K | Year: 2010

In Phase I, Phoebus Optoelectronics will assess the feasibility of using the diverse light management capabilities of plasmonic metamaterials in conjunction with functionalized ruthenium polypyridine compounds to create a novel multi-junction dye-sensitized solar cell that rivals the industry-leading efficiencies of vertically-stacked multi-junction cells but exhibits the much cheaper fabrication economics of single-junction thin film cells. The solar cells to be developed will use cavity modes within subwavelength periodic structures to create light "whirlpool" effects that steer and channel different wavelengths of an incident beam into different spatial areas of a single light-absorbing layer. This layer will be pixelated with periodically-arrayed cavities containing tailored ruthenium polypyridine complexes, the action spectra of which are tuned to absorb light of the wavelength that is steered toward those particular cavities. With such a design, it is possible to absorb >80% of an incoming beam across multiple regions of the solar spectrum within a single-layer device.

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