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Quality Digest


Air Force Awards Contract to Princeton Infrared Technologies for Research

Investigating hyperspectral imaging on unmanned systems

Published: Tuesday, March 7, 2023 - 13:00

(Princeton Infrared Technologies: Monmouth Junction, NJ) -- Princeton Infrared Technologies has been selected by AFWERX, a program office at the Air Force Research Laboratory, for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract in the amount of $749,961 for developing extended-wavelength, short-wave infrared (SWIR) for hyperspectral imaging on unmanned systems. The work will explore Princeton’s potential to fill capability gaps in the U.S. Department of the Air Force (DAF).

Hyperspectral imaging in the SWIR wavelength range from 900–1700 nm can be used for applications such as agricultural crop health monitoring and humanitarian aid and logistics. Current hyperspectral systems are expensive due to their use of large-format arrays and complicated optical components. In this program, a micro-lens array (MLA) will be fabricated directly into the detector array substrate. This novel approach will improve alignment accuracy and structural integrity, and is conducive to wafer-scale processing techniques for large-volume production at a significantly reduced cost.

To enhance the number of material types that can be identified and detected using SWIR hyperspectral imaging, the team will develop and demonstrate imagers with extended wavelength detection capabilities from 900–2500 nm, using only TEC cooling to support operation.
The AFRL and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) process by accelerating the small-business experience through faster proposal-to-award timelines. This changes the pool of potential applicants by expanding opportunities to small business and reduces bureaucratic overhead by continually implementing process-improvement changes in contract execution.
The DAF began offering the “Open Topic” SBIR/STTR program in 2018, expanding the range of innovations the DAF funded. Now, Princeton Infrared Technologies will start its journey to create and provide innovative capabilities that will strengthen the national defense of the United States.

More information is available from AFWERX here.


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