Research

IRflex granted Patent for Polarization-maintaining Photonic Crystal Fiber

IRflex Corporation is proud to announce that on July 19, 2022, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued Patent Number US 11,391,886 B2 to IRflex Corporation for the Polarization-Maintaining Photonics Crystal Fiber (PM-PCF) and the protection of this corporate product invention and intellectual property.

The new PM-PCF has an asymmetric orthogonal pattern of longitudinal holes having different periods and diameters.  The PM-PCF is designed and made of chalcogenide glass to offer endlessly single mode in the mid-infrared (2-6 microns) with good beam quality (M2~1).  The guided mode is circular to improve the coupling efficiency and to collimate the output beam with a single lens.  The large mode area enables the transmission of high-power polarized infrared laser (>10W CW).  Also, the new PM-PCF has high birefringence (~10-4), low propagation losses (0.2dB/m), and low insertion loss (<0.1dB).  PM-PCF prototypes are being tested and we expect to start production in Q1 of 2023.

Mid-Infrared Chalcogenide Polarization Maintaining Photonic Crystal Fiber (PM-PCF)

IRflex research team has developed and produced an innovative mid-infrared polarization-maintaining photonic crystal fiber (PM-PCF) with complex asymmetric orthogonal patterns of longitudinal holes with different periods and diameters to create high birefringence (~10-4).  The PM-PCF is made of chalcogenide glass and offers endlessly single mode in the mid-infrared (2-6 micron) with good circular beam quality (M2~1) and low loss (<0.2dB/m).

IRflex will present the latest results on the new mid-infrared PM-PCF prototype at the coming SPIE Photonics West 2022.   Mid-infrared chalcogenide polarization-maintaining single-mode fiber

A United State Patent Application has been published on December 30, 2021 for our PM-PCF fiber, Pub No.: US 2021/0405287 A1.

Photonic Crystal FiberMid-Infrared Chalcogenide Polarization

IRflex Signed a Phase II 800,000$US Contract to Develop an Anti-reflective Surface for Infrared Optical Fiber Endfaces

On January 29, 2021, IRflex Corporation signed a Phase II contract with the Department of Defense after completion of the Phase I project of the same title to develop an anti-reflective surface for infrared Optical fiber Endfaces.

The objective of the project is to develop an anti-reflective surface for use on bare and connectorized infrared fiber optic cable assembly in the wavelength interests of 1.4 to 5 micron.  In such region, optical materials with a large index of refraction are often used.  According to the Fresnel equation, reflection loss increases significantly when the difference between the index of the exit medium and the index of the entrance medium is 1 or greater.  In addition to the need for low reflectivity, anti-reflective surfaces must be tolerant to high optical power.

The project requests that the anti-reflective surface should be realizable on non-silica optical fiber including indium fluoride, chalcogenide, tellurite, and ZBLAN. Fiber optic cables should be designed to assemble with Subminiature Version A (SMA) 905 connectors and be compatible with short and mid-wave laser sources for the wavelength interest region of 1.5 to 5 micron. The fiber optic cable assembly must pass thermal, vibration, and humidity environmental testing.  The end result of this project is an anti-reflective surface with an improved damage threshold for high power application that can be manufactured.

The project started on February 1, 2021 and will last for the next two years.

IRflex Corporation Awarded DOD SBIR Phase I contract for High Performance Optical Fibers for 100-Watts infrared Lasers.

November 24, 2020, Danville, VA – Rflex Corporation, has been awarded a United States Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contract entitled High Performance Optical Fibers for 100-Watts infrared Lasers.

The objective of this contract is to develop a high performance, low loss (less than 0.5dB/m), infrared (IR) fiber technology for transmitting high power greater than 100 Watts CW from a multi-band mid-infrared laser for the wavelength from 2 to 6 micron. The Phase 1 contract is to design an approach to produce such fiber using our chalcogenide glass fiber technology and performance assessment.

The period of performance for this effort is six months from December 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.  A four months option is included as a possible bridge option between Phase 1 and Phase 2.

IRflex granted Patent for Hollow-Core with Anti-Resonant Arches (HC-ARA) Fiber and Method of Manufacturing Thereof

IRflex Corporation proud to announce that on October 27, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued Patent Number: US 10, 816, 721 B1 to IRflex Corporation for Hollow-Core Fiber with Anti-Resonant Arches and Method of Manufacturing Thereof for the protection of this corporate product invention and intellectual property.

Innovation can change the world, thanks to this prestigious award to help recognize such an important achievement.

The embodiments of this patent relate generally to the design and precise fabrication of a hollow-core anti-resonant arches  (HC-ARA) fiber, and more particularly to a hollow-core fiber made from an extruded soft glass preform that utilizes a single layer of robust reflecting optical arches for transmission of mid-to long-infrared wavelengths (1-15 micron).  The guidance mechanism and design of this fiber allow the low-loss transmission of wavelengths of light which falls within the high absorption spectrum of the confining material.

IRflex is currently working on the HC-ARA fiber using our chalcogenide glass for the CO2 laser transmission at 10.6 micron.

IRflex Corporation Awarded NAVAIR SBIR Phase II contract for Mid-Wave Infrared Polarization-Maintaining Single Mode Fiber

IRflex Corporation, has been awarded a United States NAVAIR Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contract entitled “Mid-Wave Infrared Polarization-Maintaining Single Mode Fiber”.  After successfully competing Phase I and Phase I Option contracts, IRflex Corporation was awarded Phase II contract with the same title.  The objective is to develop single mode polarization-maintaining fiber (PM-fiber) that covers the mid-wave infrared (MWIR) wavelengths from 2mm – 6mm for applications that require a high polarization extinction ratio at the fiber output and is able to waveguide tens of watts of optical power through the fiber.

Applications requiring linearly polarized light and flexibility of fiber delivery in the MWIR region will require a fiber solution that preserve the polarization state of the launched light.  Most infrared lasers are polarized.  PM-fiber offers the capability of preserving the launched light polarization state as it propagates through the fiber.  Commercially available silica PM-fibers cover the visible and near-infrared spectrum, currently there is no commercially available PM-fiber solution for the MWIR region.

Phase II: Develop an initial PM-fiber prototype.  Perform characterization of the optical and mechanical performance of the PM-fiber.  Compare experimental results to the expected specifications.

The Phase II contract will take place over the next twenty-four months.  The ultimate deliverable will be the demonstration of infrared polarization-maintaining fiber.  At that time, IRflex intends to pursue commercialization of the technology.

IRflex signed another SBIR Phase I contract with Army to develop additive nanostructures for broadband antireflectivity

On August 6, 2020 IRflex Corporation signed SBIR Phase I contract with Army for developing Additive Nanostructures for Broadband Antireflectivity in response to SBIR Topic No. A20-045.

The objective of this research project is to develop and deliver optical elements that minimize reflection and improve light transmission by the additive fabrication of nanostructured arrays.  The Fabrication of ANA should include growth methods for IR Lensing materials including Ge, ZnS, GaAs, and CaF2.

 

IRflex Awarded NAVAIR STTR Phase I Option Contract for Additive Manufacturing of Inorganic Transparent Materials for Advanced Optics

August 3, 2020, Danville, VA – IRflex Corporation, with a subcontractor, has been awarded a United States NAVAIR Phase I Option Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Contract entitled “Additive Manufacturing of Inorganic Transparent Material for Advanced Optics”. The award is principally to develop an additive manufacturing (AM) process for depositing inorganic glasses with sufficient quality and precision for free form and gradient index optics. 

Additive manufacturing (AM) is the industrial production name for 3D printing, a computer-controlled process that creates three-dimensional objects by depositing materials, usually in layers.  The benefits of AM are widely realized for structural systems; however, work on printing optical systems is still in its comparative nascency.  The majority of the work has been primarily focused on polymers.  There are broad arrays of weapon and surveillance systems that utilize high performance optics.  The motivation is to serve the growing demand for those many applications requiring greater wavelength transmission range, hardness, and temperature stability compared to polymers.  The potential for utilizing AM technology to print glass lenses will provide the ability to 1) deposit net shape or near net-shape free-form optics, 2) locally adjust the index of refraction and other optical properties such as dispersion, 3) create high precision low thermal expansion meteorological frames that can form the basis for refractive optics, and 4) repair existing optical systems.

IRflex Corporation manufactures the mid-infrared fibers based on extra high purity chalcogenide glass, whose proprietary fiber technology and know-how support the project to develop and demonstrate the feasibility of an AM process capable of the required optical properties, full densification and smooth surface finish as requested.  IRflex’s subcontractor is University of Central Florida

IRflex Corporation signed SBIR Phase I Option Contract for develop an anti-reflective surface for use on bare and connectorized infrared fiber optical cable assembly endfaces

June 11, 2020, Danville, VA – IRflex Corporation signed SBIR Phase I Option Contract for develop an anti-reflective surface for use on bare and connectorized infrared fiber optical cable assembly endfaces.

IRflex Corporation, on October 8, 2019, has been awarded a United States NAVAL AIR Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contract entitled “Develop an anti-reflective surface for use on bare and connectorized infrared fiber optical cable assembly endfaces.” (N6833520C0119). The current Phase I Option Contract is the continuing work on the previous awarded Phase I contract with the same title. The contract requests that the anti-reflective surface should be realizable on non-silica optical fiber including indium fluoride, chalcogenide, tellurite, and ZBLAN. Fiber optic cables should be designed to assemble with SubMiniature Version A (SMA) 905 connectors and be compatible with short and mid-wave laser sources for the wavelength interest region of 1.5 to 5 micron. The fiber optic cable assembly must pass thermal, vibration, and humidity environmental testing. The end result of this project is an anti-reflective surface with an improved damage threshold for high power application that can be manufactured.

IRflex Corporation manufactures the mid-infrared fibers based on extra high purity chalcogenide glass, whose proprietary fiber technology and knowhow support the project to design, model and demonstrate a proof of concept of anti-reflective surface for our mid-infrared optical fibers and cables.

This Phase I option contract will start on June 11, 2020, and will last for the next 6 months.

IRflex Corporation Awarded SBIR Phase I Option for Mid-Wave Infrared Polarization-Maintaining Single Mode Fiber

March 31, 2020, Danville, VA – IRflex Corporation Awarded NAVAL AIR SBIR Phase I Option Contract for Mid-Wave Infrared Polarization-Maintaining Single Mode Fiber

IRflex Corporation, has been awarded a United States NAVAL AIR Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) OPTION Contract entitled, “Mid-Wave Infrared Polarization-Maintaining Single Mode Fiber”.  The award is continuing work on the previous awarded Phase I contract with the same title. The objective is to develop single mode polarization-maintaining fiber (PM-fiber) that covers the mid-wave infrared (MWIR) wavelengths from 2µm – 6µm for applications that require a high polarization extinction ratio at the fiber output and is able to waveguide tens of watts of optical power through the fiber.

Phase I:  Determine the feasibility of an initial design of a PM-fiber approach best suited for the MWIR spectral region.  Evaluate the performance of the PM-fiber design by determining if wave guidance is achieved in the spectral window of 2µm to 6µm, the magnitude of the birefringence, and the attenuation loss is less than 0.2dB/m.  Demonstrate fabrication proof of concept and identify the steps and approach needed to fabricate the fiber design.  IRflex is committed to serving the market need to continuing the Phase I option contract with effort include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

This Phase I option contract will start on March 31, 2020 and finish in October 2020. IRflex Corporation is confident to carry the contract into Phase II.