Development of lightweight, high performance GRIN NVG objective and NLO GRIN optics

Period of Performance: 07/29/2015 - 07/29/2017

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

PolymerPlus LLC
7700 Hub Parkway
Valley View, OH 44125
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

ABSTRACT:The proposal aims to incorporate previously demonstrated Phase I SBIR technology to create layered, polymer laminate NLO GRIN optics into NVG relevant optics and device designs. Optical redesigns of a PVS14 Objective imager will be completed utilizing laminate, polymer GRIN optics to reduce device optic count and optic weight while maintaining or improving device optical performance. SWaP optimization will be conducted for a down-selected PVS14 Objective design that will be fabricated, assembled, and characterized against a current glass filled commercial device. Additionally, polymeric laminate optics doped with non-linear, optical limiting molecules/materials will be developed, fabricated, and characterized for optical shielding behavior at relevant wavelengths. Optical limiting design and test activities will include: evaluation of the optical limiting efficiency of different NLO molecules/additives in polymer films/laminates and creating parts with NLO gradient concentration distributions/spacing within an optic. NLO failure testing will be performed to establish maximum shielding levels/exposers. It is anticipated that achievements of the above objectives would demonstrate polymer laminate optic performance in military and civilian imaging applications including NVG systems of all configurations, tactical riflescopes, spotting scopes and binoculars, NLO ship/vehicle reflectors warfighter tactical eyewear, helmet visors, and a broad range of additive protective windows for sensor optics.BENEFIT:PolymerPlus will lead efforts improve NVG optic functionality and SWAP to reduce soldier fatigue and sensor failure by: (1) redesigning and fabricating lightweight NVG PVS14 objective system with polymer GRIN laminate optical components, (2) build and characterize customizable GRIN NLO/optical limiting optics constructed from 30 micron films of highly ordered and well dispersed dyes (PbPc(CP)4) or particles (CdTe or quantum dots), and (3) utilize the previous results to report on feasibility of integrating NLO/GRIN custom designed optics into commercial or military relevant products and/or devices. The NLO laminate polymer optic technology is designed to help preventing high-fluence offensive optical radiation blinding attacks. Additionally, the laminates can also be used to prevent the damages to the sensor components of the optical systems. The proposed NLO components will serve as protective elements for NVGs, tactical goggles, spotting scopes, binoculars, rifle scopes, and pilot helmet visors.