BARRINGTON, N.J., Nov. 13, 2008 -- Optics, imaging and photonics technology provider Edmund Optics (EO) has been awarded $2.32 million by the US Army to improve manufacturing technology for infrared (IR) aspheric optics. The funds will be used to help both foot soldiers and weapons guidance systems effectively see in total darkness, extremely dense fog and smoke.
The funding, part of the Army's RDT&E, Weapons and Advanced Technology Program, recognizes that future night-vision technology requires a blend of both near- and far-infrared channels that are fused into a digitally stabilized image, at significantly reduced costs compared to what is currently available today, the company said. The funding will be used to help achieve superior contrast and clarity on the battlefield during extremely low light and environmentally challenged viewing situations.
A new breed of optical designs that will further improve night-vision capabilities are expected to result from the introduction of new IR materials designed and custom engineered for superior performance at specific wavelengths, according to EO technical experts. Under the new contract, EO will explore optical design matrices using newly developed IR materials as part of its precision aspheric glass molding manufacturing technology.
"Successfully molding precision glass aspheres will dramatically reduce costs and keep the manufacture of these critical defense articles in the United States," said Dr. David Knapp, principal optical engineer of Raytheon's MANTIS Program, a defense initiative that has made possible helmet-mounted night-vision systems. "Aspheric optics are highly desirable because they make possible lighter-weight, higher performance optical systems required by the next generation of night-vision goggles, tracking and surveillance, and fire control systems."
"With no viable domestic cost-effective techniques available for high-precision IR aspheres, support for this DoD (Department of Defense) effort is both apparent and strongly justified," said Dr. Robert Dillon, chief science advisor at Benét Laboratories, the Army's principal government research laboratory for large-caliber munitions systems.
For more information, visit: www.edmundoptics.com