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.
OSD233-003

Topic

Specialized Crystal Growth and Material Characterization

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2023

Summary

The Department of Defense (DoD) is seeking proposals for the topic of "Specialized Crystal Growth and Material Characterization" as part of the SBIR 23.3 BAA. The objective of this topic is to develop innovative crystals that are transparent in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) region of the electromagnetic spectrum and can host thorium dopants. The crystals should have a concentration of 1016-1017 thorium atoms per cubic centimeter and can be either thorium doped into CaF2 and/or thorium doped into MgF2. The ability to produce both CaF2 and MgF2 crystals is preferred. The crystals must transmit VUV light down to at least 140 nm with >99% bulk transmission, requiring very low levels of impurities. The topic also encourages exploration of other large bandgap crystals. In Phase I, proposers must demonstrate a proof-of-concept for growing/developing a crystal that is transparent in the VUV region and able to host radioactive dopants. They must also show the ability to grow low-impurity VUV crystals, purify the material, and characterize the crystal properties. Phase II involves demonstrating and developing a method to grow crystals from a small amount of dopant, as well as developing a method for sectioning and polishing the crystals. The proposers must verify methods for ascertaining the amount of thorium dopant, the ability to handle thorium isotopes, and the capability to deliver thorium doped crystals. Prototype crystals with specific dimensions and surface polish must be provided. In Phase III, the knowledge gained in Phase II should be applied to grow and distribute the specialized doped material for the DoD and other interested partners. A manufacturing plan for a smooth transition is ideal. The solicitation is closed, and more information can be found on the DoD SBIR 23.3 BAA page on grants.gov.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Microelectronics; Advanced Materials

OBJECTIVE: Develop advanced Material and process for quality crystal growth to aid mission support effort.

DESCRIPTION: The objective of this topic is to develop innovative crystals that are transparent in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) region of the electromagnetic spectrum and host thorium dopants at a concentration of 1016-1017 thorium atoms per cubic centimeter. The thorium-doped crystals should be either thorium doped into CaF2 and/or thorium doped into MgF2. The ability to produce both CaF2 and MgF2 crystals is preferred. The crystals must transmit VUV light down (>99% bulk transmission to at least 140 nm which would require very low levels of impurities, such as oxygen). Also exploring other large bandgap crystals and showing their capability is highly encouraged with this request. For this topic, foreign nationals shall be restricted from participating in all phases. Development and demonstration of crystal growth under Phase II will likely involve Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), which requires application of technical and non-technical controls described in DoDI 5200.48 and NIST SP 800-171.

PHASE I: Demonstrate a proof-of-concept that one can grow/develop a crystal that is transparent in VUV region of the electromagnetic spectrum and able to host radioactive dopants. Also, a clear indication of growing low-impurity, VUV crystals i.e. MgF2, CaF2, purification of material as well as show property characterization of the crystal material. Develop a Phase II plan that includes the ability to handle radioactive material in the facility that foresee future crystal development with such dopants.

PHASE II: Demonstrate and develop a method to grow crystal from ~1mg of dopant as starting materials for the crystal and less quantity in some cases. Clearly present an example and prototype of crystal with exact amount of dopant in the first 6 months. As part of this phase a method for sectioning and polishing for example (two 3 mm x 3 mm faces of the crystal and one of the 3 mm x 10 mm) must be demonstrated and developed. • Methods for ascertaining the amount of thorium dopant in the crystals must be verified • The ability, now or planned, to handle thorium isotopes in the SBIR facility must be verified • The capability to deliver thorium doped crystals as part of the phase II. • Grow and provide prototype crystals with roughly 3 mm x 3 mm x 10 mm dimensions with surface polish of at least Lambda/4.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Apply the knowledge gained in Phase II to grow and distribute this specialized quality doped material for DOD and other commercially interested partners of this development. A manufacturing plan to facilitate a smooth transition would be ideal.

REFERENCES: 7. Peik, E. & Tamm, C. Nuclear laser spectroscopy of the 3.5 eV transition in 229Th. Euro. Phys. Lett. 61, 181 (2003); 8. Campbell, C. J., Radnaev, A. G. & Kuzmich, A. Wigner crystals of for optical excitation of the nuclear 229Th isomer. Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 223001 (2011);
9. Rellergert, W. G. et al. Constraining the evolution of the fundamental constants with a solid-state optical frequency reference based on the 229Th nucleus. Phys. Rev. Lett.104, 200802 (2010); 10. Kazakov, G. A. et al. Performance of a 229Thorium solid-state nuclear clock. New J. Phys. 14, 083019 (2012).

KEYWORDS: Advanced Materials; Crystal Growth; Radioactive Dopant