DoD SBIR 23.3 BAA

Active
No
Status
Closed
Release Date
August 23rd, 2023
Open Date
September 20th, 2023
Due Date(s)
October 18th, 2023
Close Date
October 18th, 2023
Topic No.
AF233-D015

Topic

Manufacturing of Nitrogen Vacant (NV) Diamond Substrates for Quantum Sensors

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2023

Summary

The Department of Defense (DoD) is seeking proposals for the topic "Manufacturing of Nitrogen Vacant (NV) Diamond Substrates for Quantum Sensors" as part of the SBIR 23.3 BAA. The objective of this program is to scale-up growth manufacturing techniques to produce high-quality diamond substrates for quantum sensors. The desired properties include a crystal size of at least 5x5x0.5 millimeters, strain less than 0.5 parts per million, nitrogen doping level less than 5 parts per billion, and a crystal warp less than 5 microns. The goal is to achieve a yield of 6 substrates per reactor per week. The technology has applications in quantum systems and sensing, and the commercial supply of consistent and controllable diamond materials is in high demand. The Phase I award is not required, and the offeror should demonstrate accomplishment of a "Phase I-type" effort in the Direct to Phase II proposal. The Phase II effort will focus on scaling up the growth process, achieving manufacturing readiness levels, and demonstrating vertical integration and the regeneration of new master seed crystals. The Phase III applications involve commercialization and transitioning the technology for use in vector magnetometers. The solicitation is closed, and more information can be found on the DoD SBIR website.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Computing and Software

 

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

 

OBJECTIVE: The Manufacturing of Nitrogen Vacancy (NV) Diamond Substrates for Quantum Sensors program will scale-up growth manufacturing techniques that achieve the crystal properties required to enable the subsequent growth of high quality quantum defect containing epitaxial films. To enable various quantum technologies, the following properties must be achieved on a free-standing crystal. Specifically, the offeror will demonstrate a crystal with dimensions no less than 5x5x0.5 millimeters, with strain less than 0.5 parts per million at any point on the crystal measured with 10 micron spatial resolution, a nitrogen doping level less than 5 parts per billion, and a crystal warp less than 5 micron across the 5x5 millimeter surface. High yield and throughput approaches are desired, with an objective yield of 6 substrates per reactor per week, which will likely require parallelization due to anticipated growth times.  As an example, high quality microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD) growth has been demonstrated to achieve low strain and low background doping density when grown on a high quality high pressure high temperature (HPHT) seed crystal [1]. Growth conditions were optimized to enable a free-standing film with crystal strain less than 0.1 parts per million, which is in line with the strain requirements. For proposed effort that require a seed crystal, it is essential to demonstrate vertical integration with a goal of  5% of grown substrates being of sufficient quality to use as a new master seed. Alternatively, high pressure-high temperature (HPHT) techniques have been used by foreign commercial suppliers to grow substrates with negligible stress and parts per billion-level unintentional dopants, domestic investments in mature HPHT techniques is a feasible and viable technique [2].

 

DESCRIPTION: There is a strong demand for the commercial supply of diamond with consistent and controllable properties for scientific applications. Diamond is an ultra-wide bandgap material that has the ability to host quantum defects, including nitrogen vacancies (NV), silicon vacancies (SiV) along with many other defects that enable quantum sensing and entanglement-based techniques. The majority of quantum systems depend on defect containing thin films that are epitaxially grown on single crystal diamond substrates, where the strain in the substrate crystal propagates into the epitaxial film containing the quantum emitters resulting in resonance broadening that degrades system performance. As a result it is essential that the supply of high quality, low strain, low background doping single crystal diamonds that can be reliably and consistently sourced. Currently the development of diamond based quantum materials is being limited by the inconsistent availability and quality of materials, this has limited both academic development as well as the commercialization of diamond quantum-defect related systems and sensors.

 

PHASE I: This topic is intended for technology proven ready to move directly into a Phase II. Therefore, a Phase I award is not required. The offeror is required to provide detail and documentation in the Direct to Phase II proposal which demonstrates accomplishment of a “Phase I-type” effort. The offeror should have defined a clear, immediately actionable plan with the proposed solution and the AF customer. Phase I type efforts would include demonstration of the capability to grow a crystal with dimensions no less than 5x5x0.5 millimeters, with strain less than 1.5 parts per million at any point on the crystal, nitrogen doping level less than 5 parts per billion.

 

PHASE II: Eligibility for D2P2 is predicated on the offeror having performed a “Phase I-like” effort predominantly separate from the SBIR Programs. These efforts will include demonstration of nitrogen vacant (NV) diamond substrate growth with dimensions no less than 5x5x0.5 millimeters with the crystal properties required to enable the subsequent growth of high quality quantum defect containing epitaxial films.  Under the phase II effort, the offeror shall sufficiently scale-up the aforementioned growth process to yield a minimum of six substrates per reactor per week, which will likely require parallelization due to anticpated growth times.  The offeror shall also demsonstrate vertical integration and the regeneration of new master seed crystals. A minimum of 5% of grown substrates should be of sufficient quality to use as new master seed material.  Specific attention shall be paid to manufacturing readiness levels (MRL), with an objective of MRL 6.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The contractor will pursue commercialization of the various technologies developed in Phase II for transitioning expanded mission capability to a broad range of potential government and civilian users and alternate mission applications. Direct access with end users and government customers will be provided with opportunities to receive Phase III awards for providing the government additional research & development, or direct procurement of products and services developed in coordination with the program. Focus should be on transitioning the nitrogen vacant (NV) diamond substrates for use in vector magnetometers.

 

REFERENCES:

Polyakov, S. N. et al. Large-Sized X-ray Optics Quality Chemical Vapor Deposition Diamond. physica status solidi (RRL) – Rapid Research Letters 16, 2200164 (2022). 
Diggle, P. L. et al. Decoration of growth sector boundaries with nitrogen vacancy centers in as-grown single crystal high-pressure high-temperature synthetic diamond. Phys. Rev. Mater. 4, 093402 (2020).

 

KEYWORDS: Quantum; diamond; nitrogen-vacancy; microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition; high power high pressure; low strain; Optically Detected Magnetic Resonance