Self-Assembled Materials for Lightweight IR Cameras
Agency / Branch:
DOD / DARPA
This program would investigate new lightweight imaging and detection materials for use in IR imaging systems for UAVs. During Phase I, infrared wavelength metamaterials and quantum nanocluster detector arrays would be designed, and experimental prototypes fabricated and analyzed. Material and device synthesis would be performed using modified electrostatic self-assembly (ESA) processing. ESA has been used through prior work to manufacture vertically multilayered and two-dimensionally patterned materials and devices having controlled multiple constitutive properties. Of importance here, these materials include highly conductive and optically transparent free-standing sheet materials, and visible wavelength photodetector elements and arrays. To form IR metamaterials, sub-wavelength dimensioned resonant electrically conducting segments would be formed from sparse arrays of discrete metal nanoclusters. Electron transport in such segments occurs by quantum mechanical electron hopping rather than conventional drift field mechanisms such as in bulk metal conductors; NanoSonic's Metal RubberT is an example of a material that exhibits such behavior. IR detector arrays would be fabricated using semiconductor quantum dot elements effectively biased at the conductivity percolation threshold through control of materials processing. Measurements of IR material and device properties, and analysis of their combination in IR imaging systems, would be used to downselect the optimal process for further development.
Small Business Information at Submission:
P.O. Box 618 Christiansburg, VA 24068
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