Research

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.