SBIR Phase II: Ultimate Sensitivity Photodetector

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0450605
Agency Tracking Number: 0320023
Amount: $355,974.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
POB 30198, Bethesda, MD, 20824
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Eric Harmon
 (508) 809-9052
Business Contact
 David Salzman
Title: Mr
Phone: (301) 656-7600
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project proposes to develop a solid state photodetector with ultimate sensitivity and wide dynamic range at room temperature, capable of efficiently seeing signals from a single photon to trillions per second, featuring high speed, zero dead-time, high reliability/reproducibility, solid state robustness/compactness, and a large photosensitive area. The Phase I project proved the practicality of compatibly combining these features, and demonstrated compound semiconductor materials 1000 times quieter electrically than silicon. The project plans to model, design, layout, fab, package, test, and analyze a series of prototypes, resulting in a complete photodetector prototype for detailed evaluation and customer review; and will engage students in for-profit industrial R&D. This project aims to revolutionize the $10 billion industrial sector for ultra-low-light analytical instruments by obsolescing bulky glass, high voltage, photomultiplier vacuum tubes ($500 million) and microchannel plates ($400 million); improving scientific instruments dependent on them; enabling altogether new instruments; and making new applications of the instruments affordable and accessible. This product has been sought as the holy grail of photodetection for fifty years. It could make detecting light with ultimate sensitivity so practical, affordable, and ubiquitous that important scientific research and industrial instruments needing to sense extremely low light levels could be microminiaturized to eliminate bulky, thousand volt, multi-thousand dollar, high-voltage vacuum tubes, written operating plans, and the expertise & proven track record of its managers.

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

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