AIM Photonics News Release: Powering the 21st Century with Integrated Photonics: UCSB-Led Team Selected for Demonstration of a Novel Waveguide Platform Which is Transparent Throughout the MWIR and LWIR Spectral Bands

AIM Photonics News Release: Powering the 21st Century with Integrated Photonics: UCSB-Led Team Selected for Demonstration of a Novel Waveguide Platform Which is Transparent Throughout the MWIR and LWIR Spectral Bands

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 14:58
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AIM Photonics

Program will develop a CMOS-compatible waveguide platform for integrating MWIR and LWIR laser sources into the offering of AIM Photonics

The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), a public-private partnership headquartered in New York to advance the nation’s photonics manufacturing capabilities, today announced the awarding of the latest Defense Department Government Directed Project for photonic integrated circuit (PIC); Integrating MWIR and LWIR Sources.

The $1,702,000 U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) project will support a consortium of AIM Photonics members led by University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and includes Northrop Grumman, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. The majority of development to date has focused on a relatively narrow wavelength range — around 1550 nm. The goal of this government-directed project is to address the opportunities at longer wavelengths.

UCSB will take the lead as the prime interface for this public-private partnership, which incorporates mid-wave infrared (MWIR) laser sources (nominally, 3.0 μm < λ < 5.0 μm) and long-wave infrared (LWIR) laser sources (nominally 8.0 μm < λ < 14.0 μm) into the capability offerings of AIM Photonics. The expanded wavelength range will enable a variety of commercial and military applications, such as allowing sensors to be tuned to detect atmospheric trace gases for air quality evaluation or hazard alerts.

“AIM Photonics continues to expand the PIC ecosystem with our PDK, MPW, and soon to be available TAP services,” said Dr. John Bowers, Deputy CEO of AIM Photonics. “The additional laser research is another example of the exceptional value this institute continues to provide through these research and development partnerships.”

UCSB’s extensive experience in laser research and integrated photonics, in collaboration with DoD experts and key defense contractors, will target inclusion of these laser sources into the AIM Photonics PDK, MPW, and TAP capabilities, allowing for a wider range of capabilities for the larger integrated photonics community.

“We are proud to partner with the DoD, the University of California Santa Barbara, and our industrial members in the development of this critical technology,” said Dr. Michael Liehr, CEO of AIM Photonics. “The expansion into longer wavelengths is necessary to ensure our design and development infrastructure we have developed is state of the art, and continues to address the additional requirements and key benefits of our integrated photonics manufacturing ecosystem.”

Dr. Loan Le, Staff Research Scientist at Northrop Grumman, added, "Northrop Grumman regards the inclusion of MWIR and LWIR into AIM Photonics photonic integrated circuits as a critical part of the development of future DoD imaging systems vital to the nation’s security. We look forward to working with UCSB’s and DoD’s technical leadership in developing this key technology."

“The extension of photonic integrated circuits to MWIR and LWIR wavelengths may be expected to strongly impact Navy systems,” said Dr. Jerry Meyer, Senior Scientist for Quantum Electronics at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. “They will be particularly valuable in systems requiring such advanced capabilities as IR power scaling, multi-spectral beam combining, high-resolution IR imaging, and chemical threat detection.”

Dr. Thomas R. Nelson Jr., Advanced Development Team Lead at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, noted that, “We are definitely excited at helping to extend the portfolio of AIM manufacturing to support MWIR and LWIR integrated photonics, Aside from Department of Defense interests, there are numerous medical, bioenvironmental, remote sensing, communications, and manufacturing and process monitoring benefits that we hope will be affordably and reliably demonstrated through the outcomes of this work.”


About AIM Photonics
AIM Photonics is one of a number of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, an industry-driven public-private partnership that focuses the nation’s premiere capabilities and expertise to capture critical global manufacturing leadership in a technology that is both essential to national security and positioned to provide a compelling return-on-investment to the U.S. economy. For more information about AIM Photonics, visit

About UCSB
The College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara is consistently ranked among the upper echelon of engineering schools in the world and provides students with the direct academic mentorship they need to complete degree programs on time and build successful careers. The college is built on collaborative interdisciplinary innovation, and both faculty and students are committed to developing new technologies that improve the world and add economic value in our region, our state, and around the world. UCSB is a hotbed of new intellectual property and has developed one of the most successful public-private research partnership environments in the nation.

About NRL
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country’s position of global naval leadership. The laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, and Monterey, California. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for more than 90 years. For more information, visit or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

About Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, strike and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Please visit and follow up on Twitter, @NGCNews for more information.

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