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Research And Development


Friday, March 13, 2015


The Naval Surface Warfare Center is seeking development of a photo-sensitive material that responds reactively to radio frequency electromagnetic radiation, and that is compatible with printing methods. The intent of this market research is to determine mechanisms and materials that can be mutually developed towards low-cost and dynamically controllable electromagnetic structures that are frequency agile. Frequency selective surfaces, metamaterials and reflectarrays are amongst the structures of interest. One possible mechanism is a pigment-based ink that utilizes particulates of photoconductive materials in an insulating binder. This is a known example of a photo-dielectric effect [1,2]. Of interest are particulates of 100 micrometers, and preferably 10 micrometers, and more preferbly 1 micrometer. The control wavelengh of interest can be from the infrared to visible spectrum but preferably closer to the near infrared. The absorption of light by the particulates must be limited such that light can penetrate deep into the ink in order to reach underlying particulates within the ink material. Thus, a binder that is transparent to the optical wavelength is necessary. A desirable characteristic is for conductivity of the particulate to change by a minimum of an order of magnitude using minimal light intensity of preferably less than 1 mW/cm2. Frequency bands of interest are from HF to Ku. An example of a material that performs in te X-band is AgCl [3] for example. The ink must be curable into solid form. To maximize effect, it is preferable that the resultant particulates having a large volume fraction preferably over 50% within the matrix. The particulates cannot present a percolation path through the ink meaning that the ink cannot present a conduction path for direct current. Specifically, NSWCDD is seeking rapid development of the ink towards a TRL-5 level and above, as defined in the Department of Defense Technology Readiness Assessment Guidance, dated April 2011. Although the photo-dielectric effect is listed as one possibility, all possible mechanisms will be considered.

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