Thermal Shock Resistant Hypersonic Infrared Windows

Period of Performance: 09/30/2000 - 09/30/2002


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Foster-miller, Inc.
350 Second Ave.
Waltham, MA 02451
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Temple University
Dept. of Computer & Informatio 1805 N. Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Institution POC

Research Topics


Development of high temperature 3-5 micron infrared (IR) optical materials with enhanced capabilities is critical to the fabrication of IR windows and domes for future applications. The objectives of this project are: 1) Continue developing new IR windows and domes using optical sapphire composite materials which will enhance thermal shock, IR transmission, absorption, emission, strength, and durability capabilities to survive Mach 7 missile speeds and 2) Develop IR windows and domes using aluminum nitride (AlN), a material with high thermal shock resistance due to high thermal conductivity, high mechanical strength, and low thermal expansion. Both approaches show a lot of promise for hypersonic IR window fabrication. In Phase I, the feasibility of fabricating hypersonic IR window materials was demonstrated. The new optical composite and AlN materials are net shape, thermal shock resistant and transmit in the desired 3-5 micron wavelength region. Phase II will pursue advanced development of these optical materials, which will be optimized followed by fabrication of IR sensor windows/domes demonstration articles. Performance, manufacturability and cost of the IR window will be demonstrated by producing bench level test units. These units will then be integrated into a typical flight vehicle structure demonstration test bed with our commercialization partner. BENEFITS: Current and future commercial applications include: a) high temperature sensing applications such as engine monitoring and control, fuel combustion and optimization; b) temperature sensing in adverse environments, c) radiation and chemical detection, and d) long-term environmental monitoring of pollutants with infrared signatures. These applications will be enabled by our low-cost process that can fabricate rugged, highly stable, high temperature, optically transparent components in a variety of bulk, fiber or thin film forms.