High Operating Temperature (HOT) Short-Wave Infrared/Mid-Wave Infrared (SWIR/MWIR) Dual-band 2-channel and Broadband Detectors for Weapon Targeting and IR Seekers
Navy SBIR 2019.1 - Topic N191-039
ONR - Ms. Lore-Anne Ponirakis - loreanne.ponirakis@navy.mil
Opens: January 8, 2019 - Closes: February 6, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: High Operating Temperature (HOT) Short-Wave Infrared/Mid-Wave Infrared (SWIR/MWIR) Dual-band 2-channel and Broadband Detectors for Weapon Targeting and IR Seekers


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics, Sensors, Weapons

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR)

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: To develop High Operating Temperature (HOT) infrared Broadband or Dual-Channel (MWIR or SWIR/MWIR) detector technologies for targeting sights and weapon seekers applications.

DESCRIPTION: New HOT MWIR and SWIR/MWIR [Ref 1] detector materials such as nBn, and super-lattice detectors have raised the operating temperature for cooled detectors (traditionally 77K) to points of 120K or above, reducing the cooling requirement such that low power new Micro-Integrated Dewar Cooler Assemblies (u-IDCA) can provide background limited performance in these images. These new detectors are capable of running at high frame rates and providing broadband or dual-band channel target phenomenology exploitations and their III-V telecom-based wafer processing has reduced the potential cost structures of DoD imager projects based on this new technology [Ref 2]. The nBn or SLS LWIR infrared detectors have improved in recent years however these images still have dark current levels requiring 77K higher power and larger SWAP coolers. Additionally, the new small pixel pitch and large format of these new HOT imagers can support smaller optics while still providing smaller Instantaneous Field of View (iFOV) and better long-range target resolution capabilities.

The Navy seeks to exploit the latest developments from the HOT SWIR/MWIR and MWIR detector area to improve weapon performance in the areas of target acquisition, target tracking, and new areas such as GPS-denied navigation all while reducing weapon cost and size. We believe it is prudent to pursue demonstration of HOT SWIR/MWIR or MWIR detector/seeker with the following attributes:

1. Waveband: 800nm-5 micron or 3-5 microns
2. Array Size: Greater than 512x512 pixels
3. 12 microns or less pixel pitch detectors
4. Frame Rates: Greater than 240 Hz
5. Operating Temperature: Greater than 120K
6. Snapshot Integration
7. Integration Periods less than 2 milli-seconds
8. Detectivity Peak (D*): better than 5e10
9. Noise Equivalent Differential Temperature (NEDT): 35mK

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DSS and ONR in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advanced phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Determine the feasibility of the proposed detector/seeker and develop a design suitable for fabrication (e.g., capable of withstanding pyrotechnic shock testing, preliminary salt water immersion, and transit drop testing per MIL-STD 810). Identify critical components, such as detectors and Readout Integrated Circuits (ROIC), that make up the system. Prioritize further development of any identified component (i.e., HOT detector and its associated ROIC. Conceptual designs shall be analyzed/modeled both optically and radiometrically to identify the performance and limitations of the technologies. Identify any assumptions or requirements regarding sensor/detector configuration or any additional optics required for operation. Develop a Phase II plan.

PHASE II: Produce a system design and prototype based on the Phase I concepts. Provide prototypes for laboratory and field testing by ONR at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD). Update analysis and models to reflect design improvement or changes from Phase I. Rough order of magnitude cost estimates will be refined.

It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the detector technology for deployment to the warfighter. Development of the technologies described above will have immediate application to weapons community and the commercial surveillance sector. The technology should find ready applications in laboratory applications.


1. Aitcheson, Leslie and Burkholder, Nathan. “Breaking Barriers to Collaboration.” U.S. Army CERDEC Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate. https://www.cerdec.army.mil/news_and_media/Breaking_Barriers_to_Collaboration/

2. Mason, W. “Low Cost Thermal Imaging – Manufacturing (LCTI-M).” DARPA. http://www.darpa.mil/program/low-cost-thermal-imager-manufacturing.aspx

3. Beystrum, T., Himoto, R., Jacksen, N., and Sutton, M. “Low Cost PbSalt FPA’s.” SPIE, Vol 5406, 2004, p. 287. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.544177

4. Lutz, H., Breiter, R., Figgemeire, H., Schallenber, T., Shirmacher, W., and Wollrab, R. “Improved High Operating Temperature MCT MWIR Modules.” Proc. SPIE 9070, Infrared Technology and Applications XL, 90701D. 24 June 2014; doi: 10.1117/12.2050427; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2050427

5. Schuster, J., Tennant, W. E., Bellotti, E., and Wijewarnasuriya, P. S. “Analysis of the auger recombination rate in P+N-n-N-N HgCdTe detectors for hOT applications:” Published in Proceedings Volume 9819: Infrared Technology and Applications XLII, July 2016. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2224383

KEYWORDS: High Operating Temperature; HOT; Mid Wave Infrared; MWIR; Dual-channel Imager; Seekers


Dan Simons





William Roberts





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