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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Radiation-Hardened Silicon Integrated Low-Loss Nano-Photonic Switches for Array LIDARs, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Radiation-Hardened Silicon Integrated Low-Loss Nano-Photonic Switches for Array LIDARs, Phase I
LIDAR is an innovative technology for the next round of manned exploration of space. The LIDAR instrument transmits light out to a target. The transmitted light interacts with and is changed by the target. Some of this light is scattered back to the instrument where it is analyzed. The change in the properties of the light enables some property of the target to be determined. SMI proposes to develop a 1 x 10 electrically switched silicon nano-optic switch/multiplexer for use with high power lasers in the fiber-based fixed-array laser transmitter for use in NASA planetary explorations. With switch operation proven at greater than 1 GHz switching speed and nearly lossless single-mode waveguides, our device can readily handle high optical power with minimal loss. This switch will allow array LIDAR systems to efficiently share the same laser source. The component is designed in such a way so as to be near seamlessly integrable into present designs so as to dramatically enhance present LIDAR efficiency. The very same fiber optic switch components are radiation-hard -- a feature uniquely suitable for outer space explorations. Further, utilizing our radiation hardened by design techniques developed to deliver a radiation hardened SRAM, we will ensure compatibility with radiation hardend standards. Phase I will see design validation, and Phase II will see the proof-of-concept prototype devices that are delivered to NASA along with radiation testing certification. In Phase III, SMI will commercialize the results of SBIR funded research, by marketing the proposed silicon nano-optic switch/multiplexer to military, space and commercial sectors. In particular, by working with LIDAR system manufacturers serving NASA in Phase II, we will assure seemless acceptance and integration of the SMI switch into one or more LIDAR systems; further, we will also work with NASA system designers to assure our device meets future space system needs as well. More »

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.