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Photonic antenna enhanced middle wave and longwave infrared focal plane array with low noise and high operating temperature, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Photodetectors and focal plane arrays (FPAs) covering the middle-wave and longwave infrared (MWIR/LWIR) are of great importance in numerous NASA applications, including earth remote sensing for carbon-based trace gases, Lidar mapping for earth resource locating, and environment and atmosphere monitoring. Existing MWIR/LWIR photodetectors have a low operating temperature of below 77K. The requirement for cryogenic cooling systems adds cost, weight and reliability issues, making it unsuitable for satellite remote sensing applications. This STTR project aims to develop a new plasmonic photonic antenna coupled MWIR/LWIR photodetector and FPA with significantly enhanced performance and a high operating temperature. In Phase I, we developed a preliminary plasmonic photonic antenna enhanced MWIR/LWIR photodetector and demonstrated significant enhancement in photodetectivity and operating temperature. Antenna directivity is also tested and agrees with the simulation. The phase I results not only demonstrated the feasibility of achieving high performance MWIR/LWIR photodetector using the proposed innovation, but also show its promising potentials for high operating temperature FPA development. Motivated by the successful feasibility demonstration and the promising potentials, in this STTR Phase II project, we will develop a prototype of the plasmonic photonic antenna enhanced MWIR/LWIR FPA with a high operating temperature and demonstrate its earth remote sensing capability. More »

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