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20 June 2018

US DoD funding project to demo waveguide platform transparent throughout MWIR and LWIR bands

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

The Rochester-based consortium AIM Photonics (American Institute for Manufacturing Photonics), an industry-driven public-private partnership advancing the USA’s photonics manufacturing capabilities, has announced the awarding of the latest Department of Defense (DoD) government-directed project for photonic integrated circuits (PICs), Integrating MWIR and LWIR Sources.

The $1,702,000 project will support a consortium of AIM Photonics members led by University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and including Northrop Grumman, the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Most development to date has focused on a relatively narrow wavelength range around 1550nm, so the goal is to address opportunities at longer wavelengths.

The plan is to incorporate mid-wave infrared (MWIR) laser sources (nominally 3.0μm < λ < 5.0μm) and long-wave infrared (LWIR) laser sources (nominally 8.0μm < λ < 14.0μm) into the capability that AIM Photonics can offer. The expanded wavelength range will enable a variety of commercial and military applications, such as allowing sensors to be tuned to detect atmospheric trace gases for air quality evaluation or hazard alerts.

“AIM Photonics continues to expand the PIC ecosystem with our PDK [process design kit], MPW [multi-project wafer], and soon-to-be-available TAP [tuition assistance program] services,” says AIM Photonics’ deputy CEO Dr John Bowers. “The additional laser research is another example of the exceptional value this institute continues to provide through these research and development partnerships.”

UCSB’s experience in laser research and integrated photonics, in collaboration with DoD experts and key defense contractors, will target inclusion of these laser sources into the AIM Photonics PDK, MPW, and TAP capabilities, allowing for a wider range of capabilities for the larger integrated photonics community.

“The expansion into longer wavelengths is necessary to ensure our design and development infrastructure we have developed is state of the art, and continues to address the additional requirements and key benefits of our integrated photonics manufacturing ecosystem,” says AIM Photonics’ CEO Dr Michael Liehr.

“Northrop Grumman regards the inclusion of MWIR and LWIR into AIM Photonics photonic integrated circuits as a critical part of the development of future DoD imaging systems vital to the nation’s security,” states Northrop Grumman staff research scientist Dr Loan Le.

“The extension of photonic integrated circuits to MWIR and LWIR wavelengths may be expected to strongly impact Navy systems,” says Dr Jerry Meyer, NRL’s senior scientist for Quantum Electronics. “They will be particularly valuable in systems requiring such advanced capabilities as IR power scaling, multi-spectral beam combining, high-resolution IR imaging, and chemical threat detection,” he adds.

“Aside from Department of Defense interests, there are numerous medical, bioenvironmental, remote sensing, communications, and manufacturing and process monitoring benefits that we hope will be affordably and reliably demonstrated through the outcomes of this work,” concludes Dr Thomas R. Nelson Jr, Advanced Development Team lead at the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Materials and Manufacturing Directorate.

See related items:

AIM Photonics and Analog Photonics unveil silicon photonics PDK

AIM Photonics releases integrated silicon photonics PDK

Tags: PICs III-Vs-on-Si silicon photonics

Visit: www.aimphotonics.com

Visit: http://optoelectronics.ece.ucsb.edu/profile/john-bowers

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