IRflex Awarded New DOD SBIR 800,000US$ Phase II Contract for Additive Manufacturing of Inorganic Transparent Materials for Advanced Optics

On June 30th, 2021, IRflex Corporation signed SBIR 800,000US$ Phase II Contract with DOD NAVAIR for Additive Manufacturing of Inorganic Transparent Material for Advanced Optics, after successfully finishing nine-months work partnered with University of Central Florida on Phase I and Phase I Option for the same project.

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 Phase II project to fully develop the AM process which demonstrated in Phase I and Phase I Option, that can be applicable to an array of naval optical component geometries.  Include, in the prototype demonstration, the effectiveness of fabricating fully densified optical components with precision control of the part geometry, and smooth surface quality.  Fully characterize the resulting geometry, and mechanical and microstructural properties achieved through the process to validate the effectiveness of the AM process.

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 signed a new SBIR Phase I contract with NAVAIR to develop mid-wave infrared fiber amplifier

On June 8, 2020, IRflex Corporation signed a new SBIR Phase I contract with NAVAIR for developing Mid-Wave Infrared Fiber Amplifier.  The objective of this contract is to develop and demonstrate a high-power mid-wave infrared (MWIR) fiber amplifier for quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) capable of output power scaling up to 1 kilowatt (kW).

High power mid-wave infrared (MWIR) laser sources in the wavelength range of 4.5 to 5 micrometers are of great interest in defense applications. Phase I contract involves development of a proof-of-concept doped chalcogenide fiber and demonstration of laser amplification in the mid infrared.

The commercial sector can also benefit from the crucial, game-changing technology development in detection of toxic gases, environmental monitoring, and non-invasive heath monitoring and sensing.

IRflex is open for business, how can we help?

In light of the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation, we want to ensure that we are communicating with our customers on our status. IRflex Corporation is considered an Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce which are expected to maintain the normal work schedules while following guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as Virginia State and local government officials regarding strategies to limit disease spread and as of today, our manufacturing facility and R&D Labs remain operational and we continue to ship in most countries.

Our focus continues to be on customer service and the safety, well-being of our customers, employees, and suppliers. We will continue to share guidance and information as it becomes pertinent and any updates as appropriate. Please contact via phone, email with any questions or requests you may have.  As always, we continue to make customer service our #1 priority.

As we go through these very unprecedented time, we hope that you remain healthy and safe!