DARPA seeks leap in communications tech

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded Lumera a $3.45 million contract to build state-of-the-art electro-optic polymer modulators. If the company meets certain performance milestones, the award’s total value could be $5.8 million.

The two-year project calls for Lumera, a nanotechnology company based in Bothell, Wash., to develop high-performance polymer optical modulators, according to a company announcement. The modulators are used in defense applications such as land-based and satellite radio frequency photonic links and phased array radar.

The company will make the devices by adapting recently developed electro-optic polymers into new designs that reduce drive voltage and optical loss.

“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 multibillion-dollar international corporations,” said Tom Mino, Lumera president and chief executive officer, in the statement.

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

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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