DARPA seeks leap in communications tech

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Lumera Corporation, a nanotechnology company based in Bothell, Wash., a $3.45 million contract to build state-of-the-art electro-optic polymer modulators. The contract includes certain milestones that can bring the total value of the award to $5.8 million.

The two-year project calls for Lumera to develop high performance polymer optical modulators, which are critical in leading-edge defense applications, including land-based and satellite RF photonic links and phased array radar, according to an announcement from Lumera.

The devices will be manufactured by adapting recently developed electro-optic polymers into new device designs that reduce drive voltage and optical loss. The combination of reduced drive voltage and optical loss will result in defense applications that are impractical with currently available optical modulator technologies, the announcement said.

'The recent advance that Lumera has made on our polymers' electro-optic properties and device design was a key factor in our winning this contract over competition from multi-billion dollar international corporations,' said Tom Mino, Lumera president and chief executive officer, in the statement.

Raluca Dinu, director of Lumera's Electro-Optics Business Division, said: 'The effort required to meet the goals of the DARPA award directly parallels the roadmap for our commercial products. We anticipate that this could generate significant revenues in materials, modulator devices and systems,' adding that applications for these products include optical components and communication systems, sensing and imaging, and interconnect markets.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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