NIST awards photonics companies with 2013 SBIR funding

Aug. 7, 2013
Boulder, CO--The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced its 2013 Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards.
Boulder, CO--The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced its 2013 Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards. Of the 13 U.S. small businesses receiving the $2.3 million in awards, four are photonics companies: Gener8 (Sunnyvale, CA), Polaris Sensor Technologies (Huntsville, AL), High Precision Devices (Boulder, CO), and STAR Cryoelectronics (Santa Fe, NM). SBIR awards are funded through a competitive, three-phase process. In Phase I, small businesses can receive up to $90,000 to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed research and development. Phase I awardees compete for Phase II funding of up to $300,000, enabling them to continue their efforts. Phase III involves commercial applications of the newly developed technologies, with funding from outside the SBIR program. The 2013 awards provide funding to help develop manufacturing and cybersecurity technologies. Here are the photonics-related SBIR awards for 2013:Gener8 ( -- Phase I SBIR, cybersecurity: $89,957Bragg Grating Enhanced Narrowband Single Photon SPDC Source "Gener8 proposes to fabricate a prototype Bragg grating based on an innovative fabrication method. The goal of the project is to demonstrate significant narrowing of the spontaneous parametric downconversion (SPDC) spectrum, which will enable new fundamental quantum-computation research."Editor's note -- In SPDC, a nonlinear optical crystal splits a photon into two photons with combined energy equal to the first: the process is useful especially in quantum-optics setups. Gener8 has a complete lithium niobate (LiNbO3, or LN) nonlinear-crystal optical-chip fabrication line.Polaris Sensor Technologies ( -- Phase I SBIR, manufacturing: $89,973High Speed Imaging Spectropolarimeter for Dynamic Samples "Polaris Sensor Technologies will design a device that integrates the established polarimetric architectures of division of aperture, focal plane, and time to yield a multiplexed data collection method that simultaneously characterizes samples across all relevant dimensions. This approach, in conjunction with proposed dedicated data processing hardware, promises to open up the technique to additional applications such as thin-film process control."Editor's note -- Polaris Sensor Technologies has a hand in many areas of photonics, including electro-optic sensors, polarimetry, optical systems from the visible to longwave IR, ruggedized displays, stereo cameras, measurement services, and a number of others.
Polarimetric images (center and right) are taken of a horse (left). The center image shows the degree of linear polarization (DoLP) at all points in the image, with a color-gradient scale to the left of the image. The right-hand image shows the polarization orientation at all points in the image, also with a color-gradient scale to the left of the image. (Images courtesy of Polaris Sensor Technologies)High Precision Devices ( -- Phase I SBIR, manufacturing: $90,000Flowing Water Optical Power Meter for Laser Measurements "High Precision Devices HPD) plans to develop and market a commercially viable 25 kW flowing-water optical-power meter (FWOPM) for industrial, research, and government applications. The effort will reduce costs and use best practices to increase manufacturability, exploit economies of scale, and develop suitable alternatives for several time-intensive assembly and fabrication steps."Editor's note -- HPD specializes in cryogenics, but has other products, including a five-axis mount that positions a lens relative to a laser diode mounted in a dewar; the space between the lens and source is under vacuum and sealed with a metal bellows.STAR Cryoelectronics ( -- Phase II SBIR, manufacturing: $300,000Improved Microcalorimeter Detectors for X-ray Chemical Shift Mapping "STAR Cryoelectronics will fabricate improved transition-edge sensor detectors with an energy resolution of 2 eV for 1.5 keV X-rays and integrate them into an X-ray spectrometer for chemical shift mapping. This will enhance significantly the power of X-ray spectroscopy as an analytical tool for a broad range of applications."Editor's note -- STAR Cryoelectronics' specialty is superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs). For more information on NIST's SBIR program, visit The fiscal year 2014 solicitation is scheduled to be announced in November 2013.

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