Rochester Precision Optics was recently awarded a grant from the Small Business Technology Transfer to pursue chalcogenide glass IR optic development for quantum cascade lasers.

RPO — after completion of phase one STTR — seeks to develop a fast axis collimating lens for quantum cascade lasers, which are able to emit in the full-infrared range.

Because primary applications are wide, the lenses must withstand the stress of both continuous wave and pulsed laser emission. Lenses for this application are not known to currently exist, making RPO first in the industry to achieve a working prototype.

“Our work in developing chalcogenide IR lenses for QCL is just one example of RPO’s commitment to innovation,” said RPO President Dane Hileman.

To date, RPO has successfully designed the lens, as well as test materials and coatings for damage threshold. By the end of phase one, a working prototype was produced and provided to the Air Force for testing.

No damage was recorded during testing, allowing for design and manufacturability process to progress in phase two.

Although QCL systems are in their infancy, price and performance improvements have opened up opportunities for commercialization.
Potential applications range from military systems to spectroscopy, including medical, scientific, research, security and pollution monitoring.