SBIR Phase II: Ultra-Compact, Low-Cost, and Robust Volume Holographic Spectrometers
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
ProSpect Photonics, Inc.
75 Fifth Street N.W., Suite 314, Atlanta, GA, 30308
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project focuses on the commercialization of a new class of ultra-compact, low-cost, robust, and alignment insensitive spectrometer for diffuse source spectroscopy with lower cost and considerably better overall performance compared to conventional slit-based spectrometers. Intellectual merits: The spectrometers available in the current market are based on core technologies invented around one hundred years ago. The main problems of the traditional spectrometers are being bulky, sensitive to input alignment, relatively expensive, and low optical throughput, because narrow slits, lenses, high quality thin gratings, and the detector array are required in the system. As the portability, cost, and sensitivity are top concerns in recent biological and environmental sensing applications, a new class of spectrometers that satisfy those needs is in high demand. The proposed research is to commercialize an ultra-compact, low-cost, robust, and alignment insensitive spectrometer, which is composed of only a volume hologram and a detector array. The operation frequency range and the spectral bandwidth of the proposed spectrometers cover the requirements of most practical applications. The spectrometers can also be used to form special-purpose functional spectrometers with any desired spectral transfer function. If successful the proposed spectrometer will have a broad range of applications in the fields of biochemistry, medicine, pharmaceuticals, industrial quality assurance, homeland security, mineralogy, and environmental purposes. Specifically, in the applications where the light source has a diffuse nature (e.g., fluorescence spectroscopy) the developed spectrometer will show the best sensitivity among all the existing technologies. The ultra-compact lightweight nature of the proposed spectrometers makes them a perfect choice for handheld sensing devices that are of high current demand in several fields mentioned above. The entire US market volume that can be covered by this technology has been $2.6B in 2005, with a prospected 7% growth rate through 2010. The use of volume holograms (which are typically recorded in low-cost materials like photopolymers) to replace multiple bulky optics (e.g., slit, collimating lens, and Fourier transforming lens in the case of spectrometer) is an important enabling technology that can impact several applications (e.g., imaging and sensing) beyond the proposed functionalities.
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