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Novel Electro-optic Infrared Technology Competition

The purpose of this CDE themed call for research proposals is driven by the strategic need for future platforms to be multi-role and tactically flexible. Hence, MOD are interested in exploring a range of novel ideas for future electro-optic and infra-red sensors.


The MOD's Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) proves the value of novel, high-risk, high-potential-benefit research sourced from the broadest possible range of science and technology providers, including academia and small companies, to enable development of cost-effective capability advantage for UK Armed Forces and national security. 


This CDE themed competition seeks low technology readiness level (TRL) concepts (TRL 2-3) within the area of future electro-optic infrared sensors and it is expected that a number of design studies and feasibility demonstrations will be funded, with the intention of pursuing a smaller number in the longer term. 


Driven by the strategic need for future platforms to be multi-role and tactically flexible, MOD wishes to explore a range of visions for future electro-optic and infra-red sensors. Key attributes will be low size, weight and power, and low whole-life cost. Therefore compact technologies and multi-function components will be essential. 


There are a number of possible approaches to achieve the strategic aim and intent: 


  • Compactness might be realised by the use of novel optical configurations. These may include new material concepts (including, but not limited to, metamaterials), the radical use of advanced electro-optics to achieve flat or conformal lenses or methods for making flat conformal windows that permit line-of-sight steering in place of conventional mirror/gimbal concepts. Alternatively, true phased array technologies, optical synthetic aperture or direct holographic imaging may be explored. 


  • Multi-functionality and compactness may be possible using novel detection means that permit simultaneous detection and discrimination from the ultra-violet to the deep infra-red, or by devising focal plane arrays that can both emit and receive, acting as a passive imager as well as a lidar. Very sensitive imagers that can achieve either single photon detection, or can act in a coherent detection mode for additional functionality could also be attractive.


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