Photo-Thermal Formation of Sighting Reticles Inside Self-Assembled Bulk Glass Optics
Agency / Branch:
DOD / ARMY
This Army SBIR program would demonstrate the feasibility of forming weapon sighting reticles inside the bulk volumes of optical components. Bulk aluminosilicate glass optical components would be fabricated using layer-by-layer self-assembly processing techniques. These non-traditional processes allow the incorporation of photo-thermo sensitive molecular layers only at specific internal planes. Focused photoillumination onto this internal layer followed by heat treatment then forms a visible reticle pattern only at the location of the internal plane. Bulk photosensitive glass manufactured using conventional 'heat, mix and pour' production methods is sensitive throughout its entire geometry, so does not allow this type of localized internal writing of reticle patterns. During the Phase I program, NanoSonic would self-assemble bulk optical components with designed internal photo-thermo sensitive planes, selectively write patterns onto these planes using low fluence UV radiation, and thermally treat the written materials to produce optically visible and opaque reticle patterns. Variations in self-assembly chemistry, optical irradiation and thermal processing would be used to optimize reticle geometry and opacity and the speed of the production process. Prototype optical components with internally-written reticles would be produced during Phase I, evaluated, and made available for testing by the Army.
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