Novel Biomimetic MEMS Based Infrared Sensor

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-04-C-0099
Agency Tracking Number: F033-0059
Amount: $749,980.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: AF03T005
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
220 Ballardvale St., Suite D, Wilmington, MA, 01887
DUNS: 004841644
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Jing Zhao
 (978) 694-1006
Business Contact
 Lei Zhang
Title: Director of R&D
Phone: (978) 694-1006
Research Institution
 Iowa State University
 Thane Peterson
 2207 Pearson Hall, Room 15, Iowa State University
Arnes, IN, 50011
 (515) 294-5225
 Nonprofit college or university
This program addresses a new approach to IR imager that closely mimics biological organisms sense principals, having advantages in sensitivity, energy efficiency, reliability, and cost as compared with the competitive approaches. The innovation is based on incorporation of sensitive polymer-molecular with a highly efficient micro-machined thermal-mechanical FPA that directly converts IR image into visible image. The biomimetic material engineering holds the promise to manifold increase in the sensitivity of our established photo-thermal MEMS sensors, providing an unprecedented opportunity to produce affordable IR imager. The new micro-bolometer FPA is a real-time continuous IR sensor without the need for cooling, potentially offering high resolution that comparable to cryogenically cooled sensors. They are manufactured with low-cost large-volume processing in standard silicon or MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) foundries, and packaged using low-cost vacuum packaging technologies. The design incorporates optical readout, which eliminates the drawback of electronic means that inevitably introduce additional signal loss due to thermal contact made to the detector element. Moreover, the design is simple, compact, lightweight, low power consumption, rugged, and long operating life. In the Phase I program, thermal sensitivity of 12mK has been achieved. In the Phase II program, fully functional 320x240 biomimetic MEMS IR imager prototype will be developed.

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

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