Santa Monica, CA, United States
Santa Monica, CA, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 744.25K | Year: 2011

Currently there is wide variation in QCL performance at different wavelengths. Performance of new generation of QCLs recently demonstrated at wavelengths near 4.6 & #956;m exceeds the performance of legacy QCLs at other wavelengths by a wide margin. Much of the progress at 4.6 & #956;m was made under DARPA"s EMIL program. The objective of the present Phase II proposal is to experimentally validate the new QCL design and packaging concepts developed in Phase I for radical improvements in QCL performance at all wavelengths, which are based on our recent advances in QCL performance made at 4.6 & #956;m. Specifically, we will concentrate our efforts on QCL developments in 3.5 to 4.2 & #956;m and 8 to 12 & #956;m regions using our revolutionary QCL structure design concepts that afford unprecedented design freedom for performance optimization. We will further scale up the power and wall-plug efficiency from individual QCL devices (single emitters) through improvements in package-level heat dissipation. The resulting commercial availability of high-power, high efficiency MWIR and LWIR QCLs will revolutionize many nascent applications, such as DIRCM, chemical sensing, LADAR, DIAL, non-invasive medical diagnostics, and free space optical communications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.66K | Year: 2014

In response to the Army STTR Topic A14A-T015 solicitation for tunable high-power LWIR lasers for standoff detection applications, Pranalytica proposes to develop a compact, rugged and highly reliable wavelength tunable quantum cascade laser (QCL) module delivering over 5W of peak power and over 0.5W of average power in the spectral region spanning from 7 to 11µm. The proposed approach is based on a new external cavity configuration, not used for QCLs heretofore, and offers several critical advantages, over either the QCL arrays or the traditional grating external cavity QCL, for practical field applications, including rapid wavelength tuning, high manufacturing yield, and compatibility with standard QCL packaging. Unprecedented combination of the projected operational characteristics of the module will pave the way to a new generation of standoff detection systems.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 400.48K | Year: 2013

Many military applications require efficient optical sources producing several to hundred watts in continuous-wave (CW) or quasi-continuous-wave (QCW) operation at room temperature (RT) in the MWIR (3-5 micron) and LWIR (8-12 micron) regions. While QCLs have become the sources of choice in these spectral regions, the only realistic option to attain hundred-watt power level with good beam quality is to coherently combine multiple QCL emitters into a single output beam. In Phase I, we have performed analysis of QCL arrays, and showed that this approach is well suited for necessary power scaling. We have developed a design, which should produce 10 W of output power at RT. In Phase II, we will develop the processing required for the fabrication of such arrays, fabricate and characterize prototype devices. We will design, fabricate, and characterize a second generation of devices with higher output power of several tens of watts. Furthermore, we will develop a plan for extending the performance of these arrays up to 100 W. Our approach, leveraging advanced material growth and fabrication, will result in robust, compact, and cost-effective monolithic QCL beam combining solutions exceeding the requirements of this solicitation, and provide the military with the required laser sources.


Patent
Pranalytica | Date: 2012-12-27

An improved quantum cascade laser, the improvement comprising a longitudinally non-uniform dielectric waveguide. The waveguide includes a longitudinally straight section and a longitudinally tapered section. The length of the tapered section is between 5% and 50% of the total cavity length. The tapered section tapers at a taper angle from the facet width to the ridge width. The taper angle is smaller than the delineation angle of the waveguide.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.47K | Year: 2014

Development of a 100W QCL platform based on 2-D QCL bar array is proposed. QCL bar geometry will be optimized for the highest wall plug efficiency under full operating conditions. Each element in the array will deliver optical power of 3W to 4W in high quality beam with beam quality parameter M2 = 1.5. The QCL platform will be designed so that each element in the array could be individually controlled. The platform output optical power will be scalable up to 1kW. Waste heat generated by the QCL bars will be removed by a two phase cooling system. Compared with traditional single-phase microchannel coolers, the two-phase cooling takes advantage of the latent heat of vaporization of the refrigerant, which enables the evaporator to handle higher fluxes with significantly lower mass flowrates, i.e., less pumping power resulting in a more compact system. The cooling system will be insensitive to orientation and will be designed to operate under several g"s of shock/acceleration. Unprecedented combination of the high optical power and small size of the entire platform will pave the way to a new generation DIRCM systems to counter emerging new generation of MANPADS and other DoD applications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.40K | Year: 2014

We propose the development of an ultra-compact and highly reliable quantum cascade laser (QCL) two-color module with operating range from 100m to over 3km for weapon-mounted applications and up to 10km for small unmanned aircraft systems. Operational characteristics of QCLs in the module will be carefully tailored to provide the required optical power intensity on the target at the highest wall plug efficiency to ensure the longest run time from batteries. Electronic control of each laser will enable the user to operate the system with one or any combination of QCLs, thus optimizing the run-time with CONOPS. Output optical beam will be circularized on laser chip level to reduce the cost of the beam expander optics. The module will measure less than 3"x 1"x 2"with continuous run times of up to 30 minutes and intermittent 30 second on 1 minute off cycles for up to 4 hours. The manufacturing analysis shows that that fabrication cost of the laser module of $5,000 for the batch size of at least 1,000 units is realistic.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.74K | Year: 2012

We propose to develop a new type of a high performance, broadly, rapidly and electronically tunable monolithic, robust and low cost MWIR laser source. Our solution involves novel approaches to gain medium and the tuning mechanism. For gain medium, we will use a new quantum cascade laser (QCL) design combining high output power and efficiency with spectrally broad gain profile, allowing reliable tuning over>10% of the central wavelength. To achieve required broad tunability, we will use electrically controlled wavelength selective elements integrated directly into the laser chip. The specific approach we will pursue has worked successfully in near-IR diode lasers, and our simulations show that it is also well-suited for MWIR QCLs. We project developing devices that, at the end of Phase II, will be capable of delivering over 1 W in continuous wave at room temperature (CW/RT) mode with a tuning range of over 10% of the center wavelength at 4.6µm, with near diffraction-limited beam quality. Furthermore, we will apply our best-in-class QCL packaging technology that will result in robust devices that satisfy MIL-STD for vibration/shock and temperature tolerance and are ready for immediate integration into various Navy and other DoD applications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.84K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT:The final design, fabrication, and testing of an ultra-compact and highly reliable quantum cascade laser (QCL) two-color module with an operating range from 100m to over 3km for weapon-mounted applications and up to 10km for small unmanned aircraft systems is proposed. Operational characteristics of QCLs in the module have been carefully tailored in Phase I to provide the required optical power level for pointing and illumination at the specified distances. The required optical power levels are extrapolated from short-range pointing/illumination testing data. Based on the required optical power level and QCL efficiency, continuous run time of up to 30 minutes and intermittent operation with 30 seconds ?on? and 1 minute ?off? cycles for up to 4 hours are projected for the module.BENEFIT:Development of powerful and cost-effective MWIR target illuminators, pointers and designators has a direct impact on the effectiveness of our warfighters. Illumination capability at MWIR wavelengths will improve the target visibility under a variety of operating scenarios. Availability of a laser module with sufficient power and capability at a price level of $5,000.00 each, in quantities of 1,000 per year will open up opportunities for the insertion of QCLs in many other application of the US Air Force and other military forces. Furthermore, affordable MWIR illumination capability will aid commercial deployment of QCLs civilian application in poor visibility ambient environment, such as fog, smoke and dust.


An improved longwave infrared quantum cascade laser. The improvement includes a strained composition, with x and y each between 0.53 and 1, an active region emitting at a wavelength equal to or greater than 8 m, an energy spacing E_(54 )equal to or greater than 50 meV, an energy spacing E_(C4 )equal to or greater than 250 meV, and an optical waveguide with a cladding layer on each side of the active region. Each cladding layer has a doping level of about 210^(16 )cm^(3). The optical waveguide also has a top InP layer with a doping level of about 510^(16 )cm^(3 )and a bottom InP layer with a doping level of about 510^(16 )cm^(3). Additionally, the optical waveguide has a plasmon layer with a doping level of about 810^(18 )cm^(3).


A system for collecting gas samples emitted from skin and detecting concentrations of specified components therein. The system includes a collection chamber housing defining an interior space, the collection chamber housing having a gas inlet, a gas outlet, and an opening. The opening is configured for enclosing a skin portion from which to receive an emitted gas sample and sealing the interior space against the skin portion. An inert gas source is connected to the gas inlet, which is capable of allowing inert gas from the inert gas source to flow into the interior space. A gas cell is connected to the gas outlet, which is capable of allowing the inert gas and the gas sample to flow from the interior space into the gas cell. As a laser travels through the gas cell, power and optoacoustic signals are measured and used to determine a concentration of the specified component.

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