Innovative Manufacturing Process Improvements

Period of Performance: 06/02/2005 - 06/02/2007

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Schafer Corp.
321 Billerica Road
Chelmsford, MA 01824
Principal Investigator

Abstract

MDA and Air Force are interested in advanced infrared optical windows for high-energy laser (HEL) systems. Laser windows always absorb some energy of the incident and transmitted beam. A non-uniform intensity beam profile causes non-uniform thermal gradients in the window, producing optical distortions and mechanical stresses in the window. The window material can impose major degradations on the system beam quality because of localized inhomogeneity, whether impurity or strain induced. Finally, fracture of the window can represent a single point catastrophic failure for an entire HEL system. The definitive objective of this program is to identify and formulate an athermal HEL window material that has superior performance to Fused Silica, and to manufacture a prototype ABL bulkhead window using this material. The Phase II program will fully characterize the 3 athermal glass formulations produced in Phase I, and generate two additional formulations with high strength for full characterization. We shall expand and refine the capabilities of the Schafer GlassDESIGN code, and update its database using the measured properties data. Finally, we will design a bulkhead window, manufacture the glass blank, machine and polish the blank, and coat it such that it can be delivered to the ABL SPO for testing