We propose to advance the state-of-the-art in short wave infrared (SWIR) avalanche photodiodes (APD) to meet NASA’s needs for advancements in star tracking technology. In the Phase I effort, we undertook a feasibility study for development of field programmable SWIR detectors using a PIN-APD architecture with antimonide-based superlattice materials. This study demonstrated that a PIN-APD architecture provides superior signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at low bias voltage and, with an optimized material, can also provide the best SNR at high bias voltage (with avalanche gain). The goal of the proposed Phase II effort is to engineer the process of turning these materials into a focal plane array (FPA). This demonstration will fabricate, passivate, and hybridize a small format array (~256×256) to a commercially available APD readout integrated circuit (ROIC). This demonstration imager will validate and support NASA’s mission for advancing star tracking by enabling detection of optical communications signals (1550 nm) and imaging the starfield across the near infrared (NIR) and SWIR.
An Imaging array for beaconless pointing as a part of the Integrated RF and Optical Communications (iROC) development effort at NASA
Dynamic Imaging array for short-wave lidar and stmospheric gas monitoring
Enhanced lodar and imaging navigation
Reconfigurable and combined systems and optical communicatios.
Hi operating temperature, high sensitivity detector for quantu, key distribution (QKD), as an example of quantum communications