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Compact Hyperspectral Imager Using Tunable Metasurfaces

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68936-22-C-0002
Agency Tracking Number: N201-014-0494
Amount: $799,969.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N201-014
Solicitation Number: 00.1
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-02-02
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-02-06
Small Business Information
6201 East Oltorf St. Suite 400
Austin, TX 78741-1111
United States
DUNS: 100651798
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Mark Lucente
 (512) 389-9990
Business Contact
 Michael Mayo
Phone: (512) 389-9990
Research Institution

To meet the size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP) constraints imposed by small mobile platforms, Nanohmics Inc. proposes to develop a battery-operated, low-SWaP hyperspectral imaging (HSI) system by combining a metasurface-based tunable spectral filter with a commercial off-the-shelf COTS long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) imager.  This low-SWaP system will achieve high spatial resolution, fit aboard small mobile platforms, and be capable of detecting targets and threats in cluttered environments. The key enabling technology for the proposed HSI is an electronically tunable spectral notch filter microfabricated using an ultrathin patterned graphene optical metasurface. The tunable filter is thin enough to be integrated directly into a COTS LWIR camera. The proposed compact LWIR HSI system will be electronically switchable between two image collection modes: (1) high-frame rate broadband imaging, and (2) hyperspectral imaging with high spectral resolution, still achieving video rates. In broadband mode, the filter is switched off and the imager operates as a conventional LWIR or thermal camera. In hyperspectral mode, the tunable notch filter scans through the LWIR spectral producing a spatial-spectral data cube with full focal plane array (FPA) resolution. In Phase I, Nanohmics demonstrated the feasibility of a compact LWIR dual-mode hyperspectral imager based on tunable optical metasurfaces by designing, fabricating, and testing a proof-of-principle imager, achieving TRL 3.  The team identified the hardware requirements for a prototype that achieves all performance objectives. In Phase II, Nanohmics will build and test the dual-mode imager prototype to achieve TRL 4.  Modeling and simulation will predict system performance and help to optimize prototype design. The team will design, fabricate, and integrate a low-power microprocessor to handle real-time post-processing computations, system controls, and communications. During Phase II Nanohmics will have the prototype ready for refinements and flight testing. Longer term, Nanohmics will work with the Navy and prime contractors to integrate the dual-mode HSI with a mobile platform for testing, for example, a Type 3 SUAS platform such as Insitu’s RQ/MQ-21A Blackjack. COTS components and standard microfabrication methods will reduce costs and accelerate commercialization.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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