Nashua, NH, United States
Nashua, NH, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 893.86K | Year: 2014

We propose to combine QmagiQ's strained layer superlattice (SLS) sensor technology with MIT Lincoln Laboratory's novel digital pixel readout integrated circuit (DROIC) to realize an advanced longwave infrared digital focal plane array (DFPA) with high quantum efficiency, dynamic range, and operating temperature. In Phase I, we developed the basic SLS DFPA and demonstrated its extraordinarily high signal-to-noise. In Phase II, we will optimize the DFPA, integrate it into a full-fledged surveillance system, and test it in the field. It's field performance will be directly compared to an identical system with a mercury cadmium telluride FPA.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 528.65K | Year: 2015

QmagiQ and MIT-LL will partner to develop a high-performance very longwave infrared digital focal plane array (VLWIR DFPA) suitable for hyperspectral imaging applications. The DFPA will be based on Type-II antimony-based strained layer superlattice (SLS) photodiodes with > 13 micron cutoff, hybridized to a digital readout integrated circuit (DROIC). In Phase I, we investigated the performance of a set of SLS FPAs with the cutoff wavelength systematically shifted from ~ 10 microns to ~ 16 microns. In Phase II, we will build on this effort to maximize quantum efficiency at the longest wavelengths and exploit the DROIC's unique ability to handle large dark current while delivering great signal-to-noise. The resulting sensor will be particularly useful in an infrared hyperspectral imaging system for the stand-off detection of homemade explosives.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2015

We propose to bandgap-engineer the antimony-based Group III-V compound semiconductor material system to realize a dualband focal plane array (FPA) made up of stacked multi-barrier Type-II strained layer superlattice (SLS) photodiodes. Two longwave infrared (LWIR) spectral bands will be imaged in alternate frames by using a readout multiplexer that flips the voltage bias across the FPA from frame to frame. In Phase I, we will re-design the basic LWIR SLS photodiode to significantly increase quantum efficiency over the current state-of-the-art while minimizing dark current. Phase II will use this breakthrough to develop a longwave/longwave dualband infrared FPA with the high quantum efficiency and low spectral crosstalk. We will also engage with a Systems Prime in Phase II to package the FPA for a systems level test following Phase II. Approved for Public Release 14-MDA-8047 (14 Nov 14)


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.98K | Year: 2016

We propose to develop antimony-based focal plane arrays (FPAs) for NASA's imaging and spectroscopy applications in the spectral band from visible to shortwave-infrared (SWIR), viz. wavelengths from 0.5 - 2.5 microns. We will leverage recent breakthroughs in the performance of midwave and longwave infrared FPAs based on the InAs/GaSb/AlSb material system in which QmagiQ has played a key part. In these spectral bands, this novel sensor already offers performance comparable to mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) but at a fraction of the cost due to the leveraging of commercial growth and process equipment. Our goal is to extend that benefit into the shortwave infrared. Using the best material currently available and a novel bandgap-engineering design and process, we will fabricate FPAs and measure how the antimony-based sensor compares to state-of-the-art shortwave MCT in terms of quantum efficiency and dark current. In Phase I, we developed the basic building block - a high-performance SWIR photodiode. In Phase II, we will develop FPAs in a variety of formats and deliver them to NASA for evaluation for its astronomy and planetary missions.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2016

Earth observing missions like NASA's LANDSAT Data Continuity Mission - Thermal Infrared Sensor (LDCM-TIRS) require greater spatial resolution of the earth than the ~ 100m provided by the current instrument. Improving resolution to the desired ~ 30m requires increasing the number of pixels on target from the current 640x3 to ~ 2048x3. The TIRS instrument contains 640x512 longwave infrared quantum well infrared photodetector focal plane arrays (LWIR QWIP FPAs) jointly developed by NASA/GSFC and QmagiQ. We propose to achieve the higher pixel resolution while simultaneously improving quantum efficiency and operating temperature by using antimony-based strained layer superlattice (SLS) detectors. A key challenge is dealing with the effects of reducing pixel pitch from 25 microns down to ~ 10 microns, viz. optical fill-factor, optical crosstalk, processing difficulties, pixel operability, etc. As a stepping stone in Phase I, we propose to develop and deliver SLS FPAs with 1280x1024 format on 12 micron pitch that will address these challenges and quantify the effectiveness of our solutions. In Phase II, we will increase FPA format to 2048x2048 and push cutoff wavelength to the longest possible value while still hitting desired quantum efficiency and operating temperature targets in consultation with NASA/GSFC. Several FPAs will be delivered to NASA for evaluation.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 700.00K | Year: 2013

We propose a high quantum efficiency (QE) 1024x1024 longwave infrared focal plane array (LWIR FPA) and CAMERA with ~ 12 micron cutoff wavelength made from bandgap-engineered Type-II InAs/GaSb strained layer superlattice (SLS) photodiodes. FPA/camera performance goals include QE>50% and temporal noise equivalent difference in temperature (NEDT)<30 mK while operating at a temperature>60K with a fast integration time<0.5 ms and F/4 optics. In Phase I, we developed and delivered a high-performance 640x512 SLS FPA as proof of concept, clearly demonstrating the viability of bandgap-engineered Group III-V InAs/GaSb/AlSb materials as a real cost-effective alternative to mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) for NASA's requirements for high-QE LWIR FPAs. Phase II will build on Phase I by expanding array format, shrinking pixel pitch, improving QE, and packaging and delivering the FPA in a camera that NASA can field-test to evaluate this novel sensor technology. The 12 micron cutoff, high QE, and relatively high operating temperature of SLS are expected to be of particular benefit to NASA's LANDSAT and HyspIRI projects.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2015

Infrared focal plane arrays (FPAs) based on Type-II strained layer superlattice (SLS) photodiodes have recently experienced significant advances. In Phase I we developed and delivered to NASA a 320x256 DUALBAND FPA integrated in a dewar cooler assembly (IDCA) that produces simultaneous and spatially-registered imagery in two spectral bands, namely, a fire channel in the 3-5 micron window and a thermal channel covering 8-12 microns. Such FPAs are known to be uniquely effective for detecting wildfires either locally from aircraft or globally from satellites in low earth orbit. The performance of SLS detectors now rivals that of mercury cadmium telluride but at a fraction of the cost. Their high quantum efficiency combined with the advantages of two-color imagery and data interpretation will permit the detection of wildfires with much reduced false alarm rates. The same devices will also enhance NASA's capabilities in a host of other satellite and airborne Earth-observing missions devoted to long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, atmosphere and oceans. They will also be instrumental in supporting future Space Science missions aimed at studying distant galaxies and discovering potentially habitable planets orbiting other stars. In Phase II we will expand dualband FPA format to 1280x1024 (12 micron pitch) and develop and deliver both a compact IDCA and camera so that NASA can field-test this promising new sensor technology for its wildfire-detection and other remote-sensing missions.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2015

We propose to develop antimony-based focal plane arrays (FPAs) for NASA's imaging and spectroscopy applications in the spectral band from visible to shortwave-infrared, viz. wavelengths from 0.5 - 2.5 microns. We will leverage recent breakthroughs in the performance of midwave and longwave infrared FPAs based on the InAs/GaSb/AlSb material system in which QmagiQ has played a key part. In these spectral bands, this novel sensor already offers performance comparable to mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) but at a fraction of the cost due to the leveraging of commercial growth and process equipment. Our goal is to extend that benefit into the shortwave infrared. Using the best material currently available and a novel bandgap-engineering design and process, we will fabricate FPAs and measure how the antimony-based sensor compares to state-of-the-art shortwave MCT in terms of quantum efficiency and dark current. In Phase I, we will develop and deliver a small-format FPA. In Phase II, we will further improve performance and develop and deliver megapixel FPAs for evaluation for NASA's astronomy and planetary missions.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2014

Dualband focal plane arrays (FPAs) based on gallium-free Type-II strained layer superlattice (SLS) photodiodes have recently experienced significant advances. We propose to develop a new class of devices capable of producing simultaneous and spatially-registered images in two spectral bands, namely, a fire channel in the 3 to 5 micron window and a thermal channel covering the range of 8 to 12 microns and beyond. Such FPAs are known to be uniquely effective for detecting wildfires either locally from aircraft or globally from satellites in low earth orbit. The performance of SLS detectors now rivals that of mercury cadmium telluride but at a fraction of the cost. Their high quantum efficiency combined with the advantages of two-color imagery and data interpretation will permit the detection of wildfires with much reduced false alarm rates. The same devices will also enhance NASA's capabilities in a host of other satellite and airborne Earth-observing missions devoted to long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, atmosphere, and oceans. They will also be instrumental in supporting future Space Science missions aimed at studying distant galaxies and discovering potentially habitable planets orbiting other stars.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2012

In Phase I we developed a novel infrared photodiode based on Type-II InAs/GaSb strained layer superlattices (SLS) that showed pingpong dualband action, wherein the spectral response of the diode was switched between extended midwave (~ 8 micron cutoff) and longwave (~ 10 micron cutoff) infrared by the polarity of the voltage bias applied across it. In Phase II we will improve quantum efficiency in each band, minimize spectral crosstalk, fabricate 640x512 focal plane arrays with high uniformity and pixel operability, and integrate and deliver a compact portable camera with a pluggable sensor cartridge. The plug-and-play camera will enable DOD to field-test this new dualband sensor technology for missile defense applications.

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