DOD SBIR 24.2 Annual

Release Date
April 17th, 2024
Open Date
May 15th, 2024
Due Date(s)
June 12th, 2024
Close Date
June 12th, 2024
Topic No.


Pulsed Laser Lethality Effects for Missile Defense


Department of DefenseN/A


Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024


The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic of "Pulsed Laser Lethality Effects for Missile Defense" as part of their SBIR 24.2 Annual solicitation. The research focuses on developing a system that can characterize, display, record, and transfer data collected during tests of pulsed laser interactions with materials. The system should be able to measure material properties such as temperature gradients, rates of ablation, vibration, plasma properties, and atmospheric vapor composition. The goal is to provide diagnostic equipment that can be used in material interaction testing with high energy pulsed laser systems. The project will have a Phase I and Phase II, with Phase I proposals expected to demonstrate technical feasibility and a preliminary understanding of the technology. Phase II will involve designing, building, testing, and delivering a prototype system capable of collecting data during Department of Defense tests. The system should be able to process and generate plots of the data, and the raw and processed data must be transferrable. The project has potential dual-use applications, including as a diagnostic test tool for continuous wave laser testing, aid in understanding re-entry vehicle performance, and assessing hypersonic material testing and performance. The solicitation is open until June 12, 2024. For more information, visit the solicitation agency website.


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Directed Energy; Hypersonics


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: Develop, test and deliver a system capable of characterizing, displaying, recording and transferring data collected regarding material properties and environmental conditions present during tests of pulsed laser interactions with materials.  Transferred data would be used by other external systems.


DESCRIPTION: The Government is interested in diagnostic equipment that can measure material properties such as temperature gradients, rates of ablation, vibration, plasma properties (e.g. reflectivity of plasma and material from a laser pulse) and atmospheric vapor composition during material interaction testing with high energy pulsed laser systems with pulse widths ranging from hundreds of pico to micro-seconds.  Typical test configurations would be material coupon tests in small wind tunnel chambers where diagnostic equipment is typically outside the chamber and separated by a window, or static environments where diagnostic equipment could be in near proximity of the material coupons.  The static environments could be in a lab or outside at a range.


PHASE I: Phase I-like proposals will not be evaluated and will be rejected as nonresponsive.  For this topic, the Government expects the small business would have accomplished the following in a Phase I-like effort via some other means, e.g., independent research and development (IRAD) or other source, a concept for a workable prototype or design to address, at a minimum, the basic capabilities of the stated objective above.  Proposal must show, as appropriate, a demonstrated technical feasibility or nascent capability.  The documentation provided must substantiate the proposer’s development of a preliminary understanding of the technology to be applied in their Phase II proposal in meeting topic objectives.  Documentation should comprise all relevant information including but not limited to, technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results.  Feasibility = maturity and what have you already done/validated.  


Proposers interested in participating in Direct to Phase II must include in their responses to this topic Phase I feasibility documentation that substantiates the scientific and technical merit and Phase I feasibility described in Phase I above has been met.  (i.e., the small business must have performed a proof of concept like “Phase I” component and/or other validation in a relevant environment, and/or at a much higher TRL level (5 or higher) and describe the potential commercialization applications.  The documentation provided must validate that the proposer has completed development of technology in previous work or research completed.) 


IRAD work, previous Phase I/Phase II work:  Documentation should include the most relevant information including, but not limited to:  technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and/or performance goals/results.  Work submitted within the feasibility documentation must have been substantially performed by the proposer and/or the principal investigator (PI).


PHASE II: The proposer would design, build, test and deliver the prototype system able to collect data during Department of Defense tests of high energy micro-second pulsed lasers against various materials.  The system must be able to collect material property data including temperature gradients, reflectivity and ablation on a per laser pulse basis.  The system must also be able to capture the environmental conditions around the materials and be able to detect and characterize vaporized materials and plasmas.  The system would be capable of processing the data and generating user selectable plots of the data over a single or multiple tests.  Raw and processed data must be transferrable via removable media and standard high speed computer data ports.  The system would capture data for at least 15 tests, each of up to one minute in duration.  The pulse width and rep rates must be configurable based on the laser under test.


This Direct to Phase II effort would include two design reviews with the Government, and a pre-test review.  The proposer would conduct a test at their preferred location with a Government or Government-approved witness and a system demonstration at a location of the governments choosing within the contiguous United States.  At completion of the effort, the proposer would provide a final report, the system used during the demonstration and any software required for operation.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Potential use as a diagnostic test tool for continuous wave laser testing. Aid to understand re-entry vehicle performance.  Tool to assess hypersonic material testing and performance.



Shin, Joonghan, and J. Mazumder. "Plasma diagnostics using optical emission spectroscopy in laser drilling process." Journal of laser Applications 28.2 (2016).
Eliceiri, Matthew, Anthony Mark, Darren Luke, Xun Zhu, Kaushik Iyer, and Costas P. Grigoropoulos. "Comprehensive analysis and probing of plasma emitted by the laser ablation of aluminum." Applied Physics A 128, no. 12 (2022): 1068.
Application of spectral-domain optical coherence tomography technique to in-process measure hole depth during femtosecond laser drilling in different alloys.


KEYWORDS: High Energy Laser; High Energy Pulsed Laser; Pulsed Laser; HEL test equipment; pulsed laser diagnostics