Rochester Precision Optics Wins Phase 2 STTR Grant for Chalcogenide Glass Mid-IR
Rochester Precision Optics, LLC (RPO) has been awarded a grant from the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) to pursue chalcogenide glass IR optic development for quantum cascade lasers.
RPO, after successful completion of Phase 1 STTR, seeks to develop a fast axis collimating lens for quantum cascade lasers (QCL), which are tunable to emit in the full infrared range. Because primary applications are wide, the lenses must withstand the stress of both continuous wave and pulsed laser emission. Lenses for this application are not known to currently exist, making RPO first in the industry to achieve a working prototype.
“Our work in developing chalcogenide IR lenses for QCL is just one example of RPO’s commitment to innovation,” said RPO President Dane Hileman.
To date, RPO has successfully designed the lens, as well as test materials and coatings for damage threshold. By the end of Phase 1, a working prototype was produced and provided to the Air Force for testing.
“We had great results with the prototype,” said Dr. George Lindberg, RPO’s Glass Materials Manager and principal investigator on the project. With no damage recorded during testing, Dr. Lindberg is looking forward to progressing the design and manufacturability process in Phase 2.
Although QCL systems are in their infancy, price and performance improvements have opened up commercialization opportunities for QCL. Potential applications range from military systems to spectroscopy, including medical, scientific, research, security and pollution monitoring. RPO projects that continued market growth for quantum cascade lasers will result in similar market growth for chalcogenide lenses.
About Rochester Precision Optics
Rochester Precision Optics (www.rpoptics.com) is a proven partner to market leaders in medical device, security, defense, life sciences and consumer electronics manufacturing. RPO leads in high volume production of IR and precision glass molding, providing complete design and manufacturing services, from prototype to high volume fabrication and assembly.
The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR; https://www.sbir.gov/about/about-sttr#sttr-program) is a program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. The program is focused on the expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The STTR program requires small businesses to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.