IRflex was awarded a SBIR Phase I Contract for Optical Fiber Combiner for Combining MWIR Quantum Cascade Laser Beams

On June 3, 2024, IRflex Corporation signed a SBIR Phase I contract with DOD for Optical Fiber Combiner for Combining MWIR Quantum Cascade Laser Beams

IRflex proposes an optical fiber combiner structure to combine the power from seven or more quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) emitting in the mid-wave infrared (MWIR) between 4.5 and 5 microns into a single output fiber. The total output power from the optical fiber combiner will exceed 80% of the sum of the emitted power of all the input QCLs, including the various losses (laser-to-fiber coupling, reflections, fiber transmission, splice, and combining efficiency). Also, the optical fiber combiner will be capable of outputting sustained average power of up to 60 Watts without damage. The Phase I effort will provide the modelling and experimental results to demonstrate the feasibility to develop and produce the proposed fiber combiner structure during the Phase II effort.

IRflex was awarded a SBIR Phase I Option Contract for Optical Additive Manufacturing in Mid-Wave and Long-Wave Infrared Bands

On January 19, 2024, IRflex Corporation signed a SBIR Phase I Option contract with NAVAIR for Optical Additive Manufacturing in Mid-Wave and long-Wave Infrared Bands.

This Phase I Option award followed the successful completion of the Phase I contract signed on May 11, 2023.

The additive manufacturing (AM) process has the potential for depositing MWIR and LWIR optical precursor materials with sufficient quality and precision for IR optical components or to perform front surface repair on existing IR optical components. The MWIR-LWIR AM will allow engineering of new compact optical systems with high imaging performance, fewer optical elements, less weight and volume, and easier alignment compared to current multi-components IR imaging optics.

IRflex Awarded SBIR Phase II Option Contract for Additive Manufacturing of Inorganic Transparent Materials for Advanced Optics

On June 29, 2023, IRflex Corporation signed SBIR Phase II Option Contract (Topic N19B-T028) with DOD NAVAIR for Additive Manufacturing of Inorganic Transparent Material for Advanced Optics, after successfully work partnered with University of Central Florida on Phase I and Phase II for the same project.

The award is to continuedly develop an additive manufacturing (AM) process for depositing inorganic glasses with sufficient quality and precision for free form and gradient index optics.

IRflex wins NAVY SBIR Topic N191-012 Phase II Option award for Mid-Wave Infrared Polarization-Maintaining Single Mode Fiber

On April 18, 2019 IRflex Corporation singed this captioned SBIR Phase I project with Navy.  After successfully completing the captioned Phase I, Phase I Option and Phase II project, on June 16, 2023 IRflex Corporation announces that the company was awarded NAVY SBIR Topic N191-012 Phase II Option project for Mid-Wave Infrared Polarization-Maintaining Single Mode Fiber.

Most infrared lasers are polarized. PM-fiber offers the capability of preserving the launched light polarization state as it propagates through the fiber. In conventional fibers the polarization state is not preserved due to mechanical stress, temperature induced changes, fiber fabrication imperfections, and fiber bends. Commercially available silica PM-fibers only cover the visible and near-infrared spectrum.  Currently there is no commercially available PM-fiber solution for the MWIR region. The objective of this project is to develop single mode polarization-maintaining fiber (PM-fiber) that covers the Mid-Wave Infrared (MWIR) wavelengths from 2um – 6um 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.

IRflex was awarded a SBIR Phase II Option 300,000$US Contract to Develop an Anti-reflective Surface for Infrared Optical Fiber Endfaces

Two years ago, on January 29, 2021, IRflex Corporation signed a Phase II 800,000$US contract with the Department of Defense after completion of the Phase I project of the same title to develop an anti-reflective surface for infrared Optical fiber Endfaces.  After 2 years completing the Phase II project objective, IRflex was awarded the option 300,000$US to continue the project.

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 end result of this project is an anti-reflective surface with an improved damage threshold for high power application that can be manufactured.

IRflex was awarded a SBIR Phase I Contract for Optical Additive Manufacturing in Mid-Wave and Long-Wave Infrared Bands

On May 11, 2023, IRflex Corporation signed a SBIR Phase I contract with NAVAIR  for Optical Additive Manufacturing in Mid-Wave and long-Wave Infrared Bands.

The military extensively uses mid-wave infrared (MWIR) and long-wave infrared (LWIR) sensors and cameras for reconnaissance and surveillance of targets of interest by thermal emissions. IR cameras require broadband imaging systems composed of several IR lenses made of different materials to correct for chromatic aberrations (focal shift caused by dn/d-wavelength) or for a thermalization (focal shift caused by dn/dT). IR cameras and the high-definition imaging systems are very expensive and are often exposed to harsh environments (sand, salt water, vibration, temperature variation, etc.) and can be damaged. The potential use of MWIR-LWIR AM to print imaging quality optical lens is highly desirable and critical for current and future Navy IR optical systems. The AM process has the potential for depositing MWIR and LWIR optical precursor materials with sufficient quality and precision for IR optical components or to perform front surface repair on existing IR optical components. The MWIR-LWIR AM will allow engineering of new compact optical systems with high imaging performance, fewer optical elements, less weight and volume, and easier alignment compared to current multi-components IR imaging optics.

PHASE I work will analyze the current state-of-the-art MWIR and LWIR AM technology. Identify the technological, innovative, and reliability challenges to determine the feasibility of using MWIR and LWIR AM for the refurbishment of MWIR and LWIR optical components (the required optical properties, full densification, and smooth surface finish, as provided in the Description), and propose  a plan for how these will be addressed. Perform a preliminary identification of hazards and cost comparisons for MWIR and LWIR AM of MWIR and LWIR optical components.

IRflex awarded SBIR Phase II contract for High Performance Optical Fibers for 100-Watts Infrared Lasers

August 11, 2022, Danville, VA – IRflex Corporation, has been awarded a United States Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Contract entitled High Performance Optical Fibers for 100-Watts Infrared Lasers, with the amount over 866,000US$.

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.  IRflex has successfully completed Phase I of the contract from December 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021), and another 4 months bridge option contract.

This PHASE II contract is to demonstrate production of usable lengths of mid-infrared fiber to transmit high power (> 100 Watts CW) laser output in the 2-6 micron region with less than 0.5dB/m loss and high material strength. The minimum requirement for the constructed and demonstrated fiber prototype is 25W of optical power transmission with low-loss (<0.5dB/m). The transmitted beam shape should be as close as possible to a smooth Gaussian beam, which would typically be launched into it. Survivability of fibers under representative stress should be demonstrated. Key factors for this fiber technology are reliability, reproducibility, cost, and transmission characteristics.

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