Low Cost Molded Optics for Small Caliber Projectiles

Period of Performance: 01/28/2003 - 11/29/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

CDM Optics, Inc.
4001 Discovery Drive, Suite 390
Boulder, CO 80303
Principal Investigator


CDM Optics proposes to develop a low-cost IR imaging system for use in high lethality Fire and Forget projectiles. The system is intended for incorporation into the Autonomous Seeker Projectile of the Army's Light Fighter Lethality STO under the Joint Service Small Arms Program. CDM Optics will design a low-cost optical system using two innovative technologies, Wavefront Coded optics and a moldable IR optical material. Using these innovations, the proposed design consists of single moldable lens that not only outperforms conventional multi-lens systems, but will be cheaper to manufacture and assemble, and weigh considerably less than conventional optics. This translates to increased lethality and greater deployability across IR seeker type weapons platforms. In Phase I, a moldable single lens will be designed specifically for a proprietary molding process. Specifications for the optical system, support structure and molding plan will be delivered. The Phase I Option effort will fabricate a test lens and design a test fixture. In Phase II, CDM Optics will develop prototype IR seeker systems complete with signal processing for Wavefront Coding, target acquisition and tracking. CDM Optics will partner with a leading IR optics producer to develop molded lens components in Phase II. The Phase I/II effort will speed integration of Wavefront Coding technology into two large market segments, miniature digital cameras and machine vision/inspection applications. Miniature digital cameras have been integrated into a variety of consumer products including automobiles, laptop and desktop computers, PDAs, cell phones, toys, security and video cameras and digital still cameras. This extremely price sensitive market can incorporate Wavefront Coding to reduce costs while maintaining imaging performance. Machine vision systems are used for material inspection, barcode and text imaging, automated assembly, product metrology and quality control. Wavefront Coding benefits these applications by increasing depth of field without reducing resolution or requiring increased illumination.