IRflex wins NAVY SBIR 2019 Phase I award for Mid-Wave Infrared Polarization-Maintaining Single Mode Fiber

April 18, 2019 – Danville, VA, USA – IRflex Corporation announces that the company starts today the newly awarded NAVY SBIR Phase I project for Mid-Wave Infrared Polarization-Maintaining Single Mode Fiber.

Applications requiring linearly polarized light and the 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. 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 cover the visible and near-infrared spectrum; these work by creating a strong birefringence across the core of the fiber, which is responsible for preserving the polarization state of launched light as long as the polarization is aligned with one of the birefringent axes.

Currently there is no commercially available PM-fiber solution for the MWIR region. A specialty fiber capable of high-power laser transmission (>10W cw) and preserving the polarization state of the input light with high polarization extinction ratio (~-30dB), high birefringence (~10-3) and with low propagation losses (<0.2dB/m) covering the MWIR wavelength spectrum is desired.

This Phase I project is to 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 2um – 6um, 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 Corporation is looking forward to develop a prototype plan of this fiber to be carried into Phase II.

IRflex Corporation Wins Department of Defense Phase I STTR Project Award for Lasers Based on Gas or Liquid Filled Hollow-Core Photonic Crystal Fibers

October 15, 2018 – Danville, VA (Monday, October 15, 2018) – IRflex Corporation announced today that the company has been awarded a 2018 Department of Defense (DOD) Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award to team up with University of New Mexico to develop Lasers Based on Gas or Liquid Filled Hollow-Core Photonic Crystal Fibers (HCPCF).

Mid-IR generation in hollow-core photonic crystal fiber offers a potential means to mitigate the drawbacks of current pulse and continuous wave mid-IR laser sources, which rely on near IR lasers to pump a bulk nonlinear optical material that requires angle or temperature tuning to generate the desired wavelength. Current systems are mechanically complex, require free space optical alignment, and are fairly huge in size. In addition, material selection for efficient nonlinear generation of Mid-IR wavelengths and the ability to create higher peak powers are limited.

HCPCF offers a unique hybridization of fiber optic technology and gas/liquid laser technology, which can enable efficient sources of mid-IR laser emission with great flexibility in emission wavelength in a compact, mechanically-robust design. This allows the new laser system to minimize the number of free space optics, without gas containment cells, and have the potential to operate over a wider range of temperatures with greater power emission.

The program will benefit from IRflex’s hollow-core photonic crystal fiber (HCPCF) using chalcogenide glass with University of New Mexico’s patented gas-filled fiber laser technology for applications such as LADAR seekers, target illuminators, designators, target trackers, infrared counter measures, and standoff chem-bio detection.

“Since later 2016, considerable work has already been accomplished here in IRflex to develop the hollow-core fiber using our chalcogenide glass to target CO2 laser market. IRflex is pleased to be working with the DOD and University of New Mexico on this project. Although our Mid-IR fiber technology currently delivers on a variety of applications across multiple markets, we see this project as yet another opportunity to advance our on-going project and open up the CO2 commercial market segments to IRflex Corporation, which is very important to the company growth.” Says company CEO, Dr. Francois Chenard.