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Hansford awarded $160k grant from NSF

Dr. Derek Hansford, associate professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop an optical up-conversion device using nonlinear electrooptical polymer microfabrication. The 3-year, $160,000 grant is for Hansford’s work as primary investigator on “COMPACT SUB-1 KELVIN RESOLUTION VIDEO RATE 94 GHz PASSIVE IMAGING CAMERA USING OPTICAL UP-CONVERSION.” The grant runs from August 15, 2018 – July 31, 2021. The summary of the grant is below.

The goals of the proposed research are to design, fabricate, and demonstrate a versatile, compact, high performance, real-time Passive Millimeter-Wave Interferometric Imaging (PMWI) camera system using optical up-conversion. Our proposed passive millimeter-wave camera is versatile and can be used for standoff and remote imaging since over fiber, optical signals can propagate long distance with very little loss. It includes a number of innovations to develop a 94GHz camera that is low cost and has unprecedented form factor. Specifically, for the first time, our proposed camera uses integrated electro-optical (EO) devices and antennas in a single EO photonic chip front-end, and makes use of an optical up-conversion scheme, where image formation is done in the optical domain. The optical signals, millimeter-wave image encoded, are subsequently collimated then passed through a lens of a standard commercially available near-IR camera to create a high resolution optical images. The expected low losses of the proposed approach, implies less than 1 Kelvin temperature contrast can be achieved. Such a camera will have a transformational impact for security purposes as it can be used in the same manner as an optical camera but identifies and detects hidden objects within clothing or behind obscurants.

The project is in collaboration with Dr. John Volakis, Dean at Florida International University (FIU), College of Engineering and Computing. Prior to joining FIU, Dr. Volakis served as the Director of the ElectroScience Lab at Ohio State. 

Congratulations Drs. Hansford and Volakis!