University Call For Innovation (CFI) U1013-01 - Future Space Focal Plane Arrays

Northrop Grumman Innovation Network

Northrop Grumman, a leader in the development and manufacture of space infrared payloads for defense and several other applications, requests novel concepts to improve focal plane arrays (FPA). The FPA includes the detectors and read out circuitry capable of qualification for operation in space in both natural and enhanced radiation environments. The FPA should have an array of detectors of at least 2K by 2K pixels that can operate in the short wave (1 to 3 micrometers) and/or mid wave (3 to 5 micrometers) infrared wavelengths. Detectors that can operate both in an infrared waveband and in the visible band are also of interest. Wide dynamic range is needed, and novel approaches to achieve such are encouraged. An FPA operating temperature above 100 deg Kelvin is highly desired, as is high uniformity in responsivity across the array. Manufacturability, including potential for high yields, and reproducibility along with development and production costs are key considerations for the transition to operational payloads.

Northrop Grumman is interested in collaborating with academics that have revolutionary focal plane array concepts that cost-effectively meet current space infrared payload needs with the potential to provide improved capability.

Response Instructions
This CFI is limited to employees (professors, graduate students and other staff) of colleges and universities located in the United States of America.  We anticipate proposers will initially conduct a 6-12 month effort to document the concept, perform a feasibility study, and provide a plan to develop a prototype.

College and university personnel with FPA concepts that have the potential to meet the requirements described above and would like to collaborate with Northrop Grumman in this area are encouraged to submit a 1-5 page document that includes the following:  concise description of the proposed concept, expected performance, proposed cost of the initial 6-12 month effort, and estimated cost of the subsequent effort to develop and characterize a prototype.  Initial submissions should not include proprietary information. To submit your proposal document, click here.

Evaluation and Anticipated Funding
All responses will be evaluated by a panel of space infrared payload technical and business experts employed by Northrop Grumman.  Northrop Grumman also reserves the right to use consultants on this evaluation that have signed an appropriate nondisclosure agreement. There is no guarantee that Northrop Grumman will fund any of the proposals. However, Northrop Grumman plans to make at least one award for the development of novel system concepts, with an initial funding level of up to $100,000. Future funded collaborations are anticipated if the initial funded effort produces encouraging results. 

Response Deadline
Challenge closed on October 22, 2013 and submissions are being evaluated. Winners will be announced on the Calls for Information (CFIs) page.

For Assistance
Contact Northrop Grumman via email or 410-765-8302