SBIR Phase I: Advanced Infrared Imagers Constructed of Lead-Salts
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
1405 4th Avenue NW, Suite 345, Ardmore, OK, 73401
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop device structures for infrared sensor applications using lead chalcogenides. This system has reduced cooling requirements over other high performance infrared materials (such as HgCdTe) resulting from their reduced Auger recombination rates. New developments in device engineering offer a route to low dark current infrared imagers. The objective is to design, model and grow (utilizing molecular beam epitaxy), an optimized uni-polar device structure. Further reduction of dark current in these detectors through innovative design of advanced detector structures further reduces or eliminates cooling needs that results in fewer, smaller and lightweight components and systems for military and commercial systems. This leads to an additional advantage with an increased energy efficiency of the resulting system. This provides an extraordinary opportunity for the manufacture of large area, defect-tolerant, infrared focal plane arrays (IRFPAs). The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to develop advanced infrared (IR) imagers that are lower cost, require less cooling, and have higher performance than those of HgCdTe- the current choice for high performance infrared detectors. The advancement of Pb-VI technology and fundamental understanding that will occur in this project will benefit all areas in which Pb-VI technology can be applied. Pb-VI materials are theoretically predicted to be superior not only in infrared detector materials (pursued here), but also in areas such as IR lasers and thermoelectric applications. Implementing these important and diverse applications of Pb-VI semiconductors will be aided by the developments of this project. The defect-tolerant Pb-VI IR devices to be developed under this SBIR will be the enabling technology to manufacture low cost, high performance infrared imaging arrays, allowing advanced IR sensing to penetrate previously untapped markets such as non-military surveillance, infrared radiography for tumor and other medical imaging, and environmental monitoring.
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