by Staff Writers
Shelton, CT (SPX) May 03, 2012
OPEL Technologies and ODIS have officially received a follow on development contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ("NASA"). The Phase II Award is for $750,000.
After an evaluation of the successful research and development progress in the Phase I Award, NASA's continued acceptance of ODIS's POET platform as a preferred method to develop Optoelectronic infrastructure for RF/Optical phased arrays led to the decision to issue the Phase II and carry on with POET development and association with ODIS.
Next generation sensors in space require both optical sensing in the 1.0 - 1.5um waveband and mmw sensing at 35GHz. Normally, separate emitting apertures are required for the optical and RF functions.
ODIS will develop the Planar OptoElectronic Technology ("POET") to combine the RF and optical transmit beams for phased array sensors into a single monolithic circuit, with each circuit providing a pixel of the RF array.
When multiple circuits are produced on a single wafer, a phased array sensor is realized monolithically. POET will also enable on-chip electronic control of both RF and optical beam steering angles by using differential group delay produced with integrated optical resonators.
With the large number of such spacecraft sensors deployed in extended missions, a huge advantage is gained by the elimination of weight and power along with improvements in reliability. The combining of two sensors into the same aperture achieves all of these goals.
Leon M. Pierhal, President and CEO of OPEL, explains, "Although ODIS has a history of successfully receiving SBIR ("Small Business Innovation Research") grants for many years, this Phase II NASA grant builds on the significance of the first award because it indicates NASA considers the POET process integral to meeting their future needs."
"As a reminder, commercial applications may be brought to bear once the device is completed for NASA," Pierhal continued.
"Compact electronically scanned phased array sensors with combined RF and optical emission have significant commercial potential in security, aviation and free space optics communication markets. These are active sensors which complement the traditional infrared and visible imagers."
POET (PlanarOptoElectric Technology) is ODIS's new and patented semiconductor fabrication process. The heart of POET is a unique and patented Group III-V materials system that supports monolithic fabrication of ICs containing active and passive optical elements, together with high-performance analog and digital elements.
For the first time an economical integration of many optical devices together with dense, high-speed analog and high-speed, low-power digital elements are possible in monolithic ICs.
POET allows ODIS to fundamentally alter the landscape for a broad range of applications by offering components with dramatically lowered cost together with increased speed, density, and reliability.
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
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