Chalcogenide Glass Mid-IR Optic Development

Period of Performance: 08/12/2015 - 05/11/2016

$150K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Rochester Precision Optics, LLC
850 John Street
West Henrietta, NY 14586
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
902 Battelle Blvd.
Richland, WA 99354
Institution POC

Abstract

ABSTRACT: The objective of this proposal is to develop a fast axis collimating lens for quantum cascade lasers (QCL) which emit in the midwave-infrared (MWIR) range. These lenses must withstand the stress of both continuous wave (CW) and pulsed laser emission. These high laser powers may cause ablation of lens material reducing effectiveness of the optic and leading to failure. Thus, a high damage threshold is required for materials used in these applications, as well as good thermal sinking ?to remove heat from the optic. ?Lenses for this application are not known to currently exist, most likely due to the expensive nature of processing and material cost for optical elements in the MWIR. ?Chalcogenide glasses provide a solution to the high processing cost in their ability to be molded through precision glass molding (PGM). The material cost of chalcogenide glasses is high, however, molding produces little to no waste and is a very low cost high yield process. For Phase I we plan to design the lens and test materials and coatings for damage threshold at the wavelength 4.6 microns. ?; BENEFIT: IR quantum cascade laser systems have achieved a price and performance level that is increasingly attractive for applications ranging from military IRCM systems and standoff explosive technologies to spectroscopy, including a wide range of medical, scientific, research, security, and pollution monitoring applications. While the market is growing quite rapidly QCLs are still in their life infancy. Market research groups are projecting the total world market to reach $7B in 2019. As the market for QCL lasers grow, the market for chalcogenide fast axis collimating lenses will grow with it.