Self-Assembled Polarizing Material

Period of Performance: 09/01/2008 - 05/01/2009


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Sponsored Programs 0170
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Institution POC


Detection and recognition of targets on a scene is the main utility of remote sensing in defense applications. Polarimetric imaging offers significant advantages for remote sensing. Utilization of polarization imaging was hampered by luck of speed, excessive volume, and expensiveness of common approaches. Polarization-sensitive imaging sensor employing micropolarizing plates offer a promising solution. However cost-effective fabrication of micropolarizer plates still represents a significant challenge, especially for visible wavelengths. Luna Innovations and Virginia Tech propose to develop a new class of polarization components based on a revolutionary bottom-up fabrication methodology that promises an unmatched level of morphological and orientational control of the nanostructures and nanomaterials. During the proposed Phase I effort, the team will develop a thorough model of the material, will develop and demonstrate key fabrication processes, and will show the utility of the proposed material in remote sensing applications. Phase II of the project will be devoted toward optimization of the nanoassembly design and fabrication techniques and on development of a polarizing plate that will be used to demonstrate polarization imaging. Relationships with appropriate OEMs will be developed during the Phase I and Phase II of the project and will serve as the basis of a successful Phase III. BENEFIT: The developed polarizing nanomaterial will significantly expand the application base of polarization imaging, particularly in areas important to the Department of Defense. Remote target detection and recognition at near UV-visible wavelengths will become more reliable, smaller, cheaper, thus providing the opportunity for use in smaller-scale missions. In addition to DoD applications the proposed nanomaterial is expected to find applications in astronomy and, possibly, photography and Liquid Crystal Display markets. the proposed approach will enable a number of other important applications such as highly nonlinear polymer materials, uniaxial and biaxial materials and many more. The proposed general method for selectively functionalizing metal nanoparticles could form the basis for forming a huge library of molecular building blocks with virtually unlimited functionality for use in assembling supramolecular structures with tailored photophysical, chemical and biochemical properties. Orientational control that we will develop in this project will provide further opportunities to integrate these materials into optoelectronic devices.