Nikira Labs gets $299,031 SBIR Phase II contract for laser Raman optical fiber bundle

Feb. 20, 2020
Analytical-instrument developer Nikira Labs, along with optical-filter specialist Omega Optical, will develop a fiber-optic bundle for laser Raman excitation and detection.

Nikira Labs (Mountain View, CA), a startup whose intent is to bring new types of analytical instrumentation to market, has been awarded a $299,031 SBIR Phase II contract entitled “Compact Raman Fiber Optic Probe with Inline Spectral Filtering” from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with Omega Optical (Brattleboro, VT) as a subcontractor. The two-year award will focus on developing a fiber-optic bundle that can simultaneously be used for laser Raman excitation and detection in a wide array of applications, including in-vivo medical procedures.

Raman spectroscopy uses nonresonant laser light scattering to determine the chemical composition of a sample. Omega Optical is tasked with applying optical filters to the tips of the fibers in the fiber bundle. The innovation involves patterning the tips so that the central (laser) fiber has a different filter applied than the surrounding (detection) fibers in the bundle.

Nikira Labs ( is a small, women-owned business that was founded in 2017 and is already seeking beta testers for products including a mobile natural-gas leak-detection system, an optical visibility sensor, and an optical Microscope for cell imaging. Nikira Labs notes that a portion of its profits are donated to charities that further the roles of women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups in science and engineering and that improve the overall state of science education.

Omega Optical ( holds patents in the areas of coated optical-fiber tips, fluorescence filters, and multiband filters for a variety of applications and provides filters to end-users and OEMs in the biomedical, machine-vision, LiDAR, defense, and astronomy markets.

Sources: Omega Optical and Nikira Labs

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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