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Epsilon Near Zero Optical Limiter

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W911W6-19-C-0031
Agency Tracking Number: A183-131-0177
Amount: $99,988.78
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: A18-131
Solicitation Number: 18.3
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-02-05
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-03-16
Small Business Information
410 Jan Davis Drive
Huntsville, AL 35806
United States
DUNS: 625694500
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Zachary Coppens
 Research Scientist
 (256) 799-1148
Business Contact
 Lindsey McMicken
Phone: (256) 922-0802
Research Institution

Optical sensor protection against laser threats has been a critical part of the Army’s S&T portfolio, especially with the advancement and availability of laser weapon systems. One particularly threatening system is a pulsed laser system using short (nanosecond) pulses with high fluence that could permanently damage the optical sensor. Typically, these treats are mitigated with optical limiter (OL) devices that protect optical sensors from laser induced damage. These devices transmit low intensity input light (in the PASS state) and limit the light transmission when exposed to light above the sensor damage threshold (in BLOCK state). Therefore, solutions for ultrafast, passive optical limiters where protection is activated by the incoming radiation are needed. Epsilon-near-zero (ENZ) materials provide extreme optical nonlinear response, offering a means to create these passive optical limiters. However, no practical designs exist that meet the stringent requirements for sensor protection. In this Phase I effort, we will explore designs that incorporate ENZ/metamaterial structures to create a reflective optical limiter. The ENZ material enables low activation threshold and the reflective protection strategy significantly increases damage threshold when compared to absorptive methods. Success in this effort will pave the way for a new generation of optical limiting devices.

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

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