SBIR Phase I:Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) corner cube retroreflectors
This Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Phase I research project will develop a novel MEMS corner cube retroreflector (CCR), for optical communications. The innovation lies in the convergence of a MEMS modulating technology with the concept of corner cube retroreflector creating a new type of optical devices for passive data links and object identifications. A system level CCR integration, in combination with proof-of-concept laboratory verification methods, will be adopted to identify the most promising design of the proposed MEMS modulating retroreflector. The innovation enables an optical ID tag that can be triggered for passive and remote optical data transfer. If successful the outcome of this proposed activity will generate low cost, low power, integrated and compact CCR devices, ultimately leading to portable deployment of the CCR devices with satisfactory reliability, durability, along with sufficient ruggedness and endurance. Its applications include but not limited to: data nodes for distributed sensor networks, optical ID and data links for optical communication networks, vehicle monitoring at toll booth and inventory management, aiding surveillance and rescue operations in remote areas (e.g. at sea), environmental monitoring at remote areas or at high altitudes (e.g. gas line monitoring, structural health monitoring, etc.). Besides the commercial applications, MEMS modulating CCR technologies will potentially find important entries into military fields, with applications including identify-friend-or-foe interrogation, sniper identification and location, ad-hoc mesh networks, air-to-ground links, and unmanned autonomous vehicle monitoring, to name a few.
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