Nanocrystalline Inorganic Powder Molding
Agency / Branch:
DOD / DLA
The proposed Phase I development program is geared towards the production of low-cost optical components through a novel manufacturing process called Nanocrystalline Powder Molding (NPM). Military infrared imaging systems are required in the MWIR and LWIR for the purposes of surveillance and target acquisition. As these systems become more and more critical in the battlefield as well as in the commercial sector, it is critical that new manufacturing technologies be developed that can reduce the cost of the optical systems. Currently most MWIR and LWIR imaging systems incorporate lenses with aspheric surfaces that must be diamond turned. Diamond-turning is significantly more expensive than conventional grinding and polishing processes and so can be a large cost driver for IR imaging systems. The proposed molding process uses materials that unlike chalcogenide glasses are non-toxic, inexpensive, and can transmit from the visible through to the VLWIR spectral regions. A redesign of an optical system to remove aspheric surfaces from germanium and other materials and to place those aspheric surfaces on a lens that can be manufactured using NPM promises to reduce optical fabrication costs by 2 to 8X.
Small Business Information at Submission:
CLEAR ALIGN LLC
2550 Boulevard of the Generals Suite 280 Eagleville, PA 19403
Number of Employees: