The U.S. Department of Defense's Prospective Research Office has launched a five-year program to develop revolutionary infrared sensors, which requires new-generation sensors to have a single-phototon sensitivity while being compact and operating at room temperatures. The full scope of such systems is impossible to imagine, but it will definitely change surveillance, medicine, and so on.
Today's monofoton-sensitive sensors need to be cooled to cryogenic temperatures, and this is against the background of the fact that they are cumbersome and require powerful power sources. The DARPA Optim program involves the discovery at the interface of a number of fundamental sciences in the physics of materials, photonics and metrology, as well as material science. Let's stress, DARPA is waiting for a revolution, not evolution.
- They report to DARPA.
If quantum sensitivity is achieved for the new generation of IC sensors operating at room temperature, it will be possible to change the systems for monitoring the battlefield, night vision and ground and space visualization; it will also allow many commercial applications from infrared spectroscopy for non-invasive cancer diagnosis to high-precision and instantaneous detection of pathogens in human or air inhalation, as well as detection of threats to agriculture.
The DARPA OpTIM programme is designed for five years and is divided into two 30-month phases. It is expected that the research will be carried out in three main areas, more precisely based on a combination of the three selected areas. First, it is the development of optical resonators that will provide a highly sensitive and highly isolated platform. Second, fully optical detectors should be created to detect signals at the quantum level with low noise. Third, metamaterials with a spectrally selective IC absorption are needed to detect extremely accurate wave lengths.
- said Mukund Wengalatora, the director of Optim's program at DARPA's Department of Defence Sciences.