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Manufacturable High-Performance Magnetometers


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Biotechnology; Quantum Science The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. OBJECTIVE: Develop an accessible, high-performance scalar gradiometric magnetometer that can be reliably produced. The device architecture should focus on simplifying and streamlining the manufacturing of a scalar gradiometric magnetometer that already meets DoD-relevant performance specifications. DESCRIPTION: The DoD has a need for magnetometers for applications such as magnetic navigation, magnetic anomaly detection, and medical imaging such as magnetoencephalography (MEG) and magnetocardiography (MCG). Quantum magnetometers, specifically optically pumped magnetometers (OPMs) [1], have advanced significantly in recent years and surpassed conventional sensors and superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs). The most sensitive OPMs require extensive magnetic shielding [2], but recently, scalar gradiometric magnetometers capable of operating in Earth’s field have been demonstrated with similar sensitivities [3]. Though significant advances have been made in the performance of scalar gradiometric magnetometers, one aspect that prevents their widespread use is their manufacturability. For DoD-relevant missions, there is a need for a manufacturable scalar gradiometer that can be deployed across a variety of domains and at large scale. The goal of this program is to streamline the production of high-performance scalar gradiometric magnetometers. The device should be a complete, fieldable product, including but not limited to electronics, sensor head, laser, etc. PHASE I: This topic is accepting Direct to Phase II proposals only. To qualify for Direct to Phase II, sufficient evidence of a previous externally funded effort that specifically addresses high performance optically pumped scalarmagnetometers should be demonstrated. The scalar magnetometer should have a sensitivity of 20 fT/rtHz, a sensor head size of roughly 15 mm x 15 mm x 7 cm and operate in an ambient magnetic field of up to 100 uT. The power consumption, electronics, data rate, bandwidth, temperature operation range, and gradient and total field range, sensitivity, and accuracy should be discussed. PHASE II: Redesign and build at least 5 optically pumped scalar magnetometers with specifications descried in Phase 1. Clear advancements in manufacturability should be demonstrated indicating the capability for mass manufacturing. Demonstrated metrics for manufacturability should include but not be limited to cost (<$5000), fabrication timelines (<3 months), and yield (>80%). Phase II Base amount must not exceed $1,300,000 for a 24-month period of performance and the Option amount must not exceed $650,000 for a 12-month period of performance. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: This technology can be used for multiple military technologies such as magnetic anomaly detection or magnetic navigation but has a dual use for medical applications such as magnetoencephalography or magnetocardiography. REFERENCES: 1. Budker, D., Kimball, D. F. J., Optical Magnetometry. Cambridge University Press (2013). 2. Kominis, I., Kornack, T., Allred, J. et al. A subfemtotesla multichannel atomic magnetometer. Nature 422, 596–599 (2003). 3. Lucivero, V.G. and Lee, W. and Limes, M.E. and Foley, E.L. and Kornack, T.W. and Romalis, M.V., Femtotesla Nearly-Quantum-Noise-Limited Pulsed Gradiometer at Earth-Scale Fields. Phys. Rev. Appl. 18, L021001 (2022). KEYWORDS: Magnetometry; magnetic navigation; scalar gradiometry; scalar magnetometry; quantum magnetometer
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