Low Temperature Metasurface Optics for Infrared Filtering and Dichroic Beam Splitting

Physical Sciences Inc has been awarded a contract from the US Air Force to provide optics to Arnold Engineering Development Complex that provide more reliable performance at low temperatures in order to better characterize the performance of scene generators and detectors at cryogenic temperatures.

Infrared seekers are a key element of many measures and countermeasures employed by the Air Force for missile defense and other tactical engagements. Due to technology advancement, seeker hardware and software components need to undergo constant testing in realistic laboratory environments to ensure that they operate reliably and are able to respond to increasingly stringent operational demands. These tests are typically first performed in a laboratory environment that accurately mimics an operational environment: at cryogenic temperatures and at reduced atmosphere (i.e. vacuum). Such test beds require numerous optics – filters and beam splitters among them – that need to operate at cryogenic temperatures (< 77 K) and withstand numerous thermal cycles as the test bed is often brought back to room temperature to allow the experimentalist to move, replace, or add new components.

PSI’s Metasurface optical coatings are capable of producing tailored optical properties with only one or two layers of material. Rather than stacking many layers of material on top of one another to control the reflection and transmission of light, metasurfaces use lateral patterning to shape the optical spectrum. Because of the reduced degrees of freedom in a metasurface compared to a multilayer optical coating, a metasurface coating will experience less variation in its optical properties with temperature, and the variation that it experiences will be much simpler to predict. Furthermore, the metasurface coatings will be less likely to experience delamination during thermal cycling due to the simpler stress profile.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Joel Hensley
Vice President, Photonics

Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003

This material is based upon work supported by the United States Air Force under Contract No. FA9101-19-C-0013. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Air Force.