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Electronically Actuated Pixelated Aperture for High Sensitivity WFOV Imaging in Sunlight

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8651-18-P-0021
Agency Tracking Number: F173-013-0483
Amount: $149,997.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF173-013
Solicitation Number: 2017.3
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-04-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-04-10
Small Business Information
15985 NW Schendel Avenue
Beaverton, OR 97006
United States
DUNS: 124348652
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Don Conkey
 (971) 223-5646
Business Contact
 Debra Ozuna
Phone: (971) 223-5646
Research Institution

In this Phase I SBIR, a Voxtel Inc.-led team will develop and prototype a novel low-cost solar-brightness-blocking optical system for imagers to enable high-quality imaging over a wide field of view (FOV > 90 degrees) in the presence of direct sunlight within the FOV. The system will be based on a biologically inspired compound eye, with built-in small-FOV (< 3 degree) apertures to block sunlight and prevent blooming in sensitive imagers, using an active system with moving pigments that blocks or attenuates sunlight on demand. Biological systems such as these cannot be mimicked simply and directly with existing processes. Thus, a pair of gradient-refractive-index (GRIN) lenslet arrays will be fabricated that break the FOV into subapertures with a tight focal plane between them, and an electrophoretic light-attenuating cell array (ELACA) will be fabricated to block the light at the beam waist before it is delivered (via the second lenslet array) to the imaging camera. Lenses in an array will be varied, or chirped, as needed (each being different than its neighbor) to reduce wide-angle aberrations. Light transmission will be nearly 100% in the off state, and about 10 nJ will be used for each on/off cycle.

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

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