Electromagnetic-Attack-Resistant EO Polymer/Sol-gel Modulator
Navy SBIR FY2013.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2013.1
Topic No.: N131-066
Topic Title: Electromagnetic-Attack-Resistant EO Polymer/Sol-gel Modulator
Proposal No.: N131-066-0018
Firm: TIPD, L.L.C.
1430 N. 6th Ave.
Tucson, Arizona 85705-6644
Contact: Arkady Bablumyan
Phone: (760) 722-0572
Abstract: RF photonic links provide an attractive approach to minimizing the impact of an electromagnetic attack on defense and commercial communications infrastructure. A key component in an RF photonic link is an electro-optic (EO) modulator, and current commercially available EO modulators are not able to withstand the 10kW peak power pulses that can results from an electromagnetic attack, such as an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). In the proposed program, TIPD, LLC will develop design concepts and materials candidates for a novel EMP-hard modulator based on its proven EO polymer/sol-gel modulator platform, which has achieved low drive voltages (~ few volts), low insertion loss (~ 5dB or less) and high speed operation suitable for RF photonics links. The EMP-hard properties of the modulator will derive from the unique, dielectric breakdown suppression properties of TIPD's sol-gel materials, which have been used in high dielectric breakdown strength applications like claddings for EO polymer modulators and high energy storage density capacitors. The Phase I program will comprise modulator design, materials selection, electrical/thermal modeling, and high frequency/high voltage materials characterization, while the Phase I Option will include prototype phase modulator development and roadmapping the testing needs of Phase II.
Benefits: The electromagnetic-attack-resistant modulators developed under this program can be used in any military or civilian antenna system where an RF or microwave receiver system must be protected from potential attack. Critical civilian systems such as cellular communication infrastructures are candidates for these products. The modulators developed under this proposal would provide an advantage over existing equipment that is not resistant to EMP. More generally, demonstration of high performance EMP resistant EO modulators will be an important milestone in the development of photonic technology for avionics systems. Furthermore, the sol-gel materials developed under this program are likely to find applications in energy storage applications, such as capacitors, as well as potentially to improve the performance of existing EO modulator technologies.