Latest technologies from The University of Arizona
Process to Fabricate Light Sources that Emit Polarized Light
Fri, 14 Oct 2011 10:22:07 GMT

Invention

A new technology for creating polarized illumination sources that are small, have controllable spectral outputs, and that can be arranged into a microarray of polarization sources. This technology aligns molecules of photoactive dye in a liquid crystal polymer host to produce light with a degree of polarization of about 0.5. The molecules can be aligned locally across a large area to produce a micro polarization array if desired. The type of luminescent molecule used determines the source bandwidth.

Background

Manipulation of light polarization is becoming increasingly important in many optical systems. As optical technologies ranging from digital displays to photolithography continue to grow, there comes a greater need to not only control polarization, but also to provide polarized illumination for such devices. Polarized sources are able to provide further improvements in performance and efficiency. Few types of polarized sources already exist, such as lasers, but their size and cost often limit their applications of use. Lasers are particularly limited in their spectral output as well as their ability to locally control polarization states across a wide area. Thus, there exists a need for polarization sources that are compact, have controllable spectral outputs, and that can be engineered to provide polarization control on a localized level.

Advantages

  • Inexpensive and straightforward fabrication
  • Based on well-established technology

Applications

  • Display technology, including LCD backlighting and OLED displays
  • Illumination in remote sensing
  • Photolithography
  • Remote Sensing

Inventor

Stanley Pau

Contact

Kennedy Nyairo

KennedyN@tla.arizona.edu

Refer to technology #UA11-115

Novel Electrically Pumped VECSEL
Sat, 04 Feb 2017 13:06:29 GMT

This invention is a high-power, tunable, electrically pumped VECSEL.  By use of a novel pumping geometry, the electrically pumped VECSEL is able to attain high output powers with greater efficiency.

 

Background:
A vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting-laser (VECSEL) is a small semiconductor laser not dissimilar to the vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL), which is a type of semiconductor laser diode with laser beam emission perpendicular from the top surface. VECSELs are primarily used in near infrared devices for spectroscopy, laser cooling, and telecommunications. Conventional electrical pumping schemes for VECSELs inject the electric current into the perpendicular laser path.

 

Applications:

  • Higher power output
  • Industrial lasers

Advantages:

  • Higher power output
  • Greater efficiency
Digital Micromirror Device Based Beam Steering
Mon, 08 May 2017 13:52:36 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have designed a beam steering system that works over a large range of wavelengths, with a relatively large field of view, high scan rate, and large beam size, while minimizing the number of moving parts. The invention includes a novel architecture for the illumination and scanning components.

 

Background: 
Beam steering technology is essential for Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) systems. Mechanical scanning systems including gimbals, fast-steering mirrors, Risley prisms, rotating polygon mirrors and gratings have been used for wide wavelength ranges. Although these are widely adopted, there is still a need for fewer or no moving parts and smaller component inertia for fast and compact beam steering devices to reduce size, weight, cost, and power consumption. This is especially desirable for the autonomous vehicle and robotics market sector applications.

 

Advantages:

  • Wide field of view
  • Large number of scan angles
  • Few moving parts 
  • Small component inertia
  • High scan rate

Applications:

  • LIDAR
  • Product line inspection
  • Optical switching
High-throughput manufacturing for PIC polymer waveguide using multiple exposures
Thu, 29 Nov 2018 13:10:27 GMT

Title:  High-throughput Manufacturing for PIC Polymer Waveguides

 

Invention: Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a method of fabricating polymer waveguides in polymer films to form the interconnections between optical devices such as PICs to other PICs and Optical Printed Circuit Boards (OPCBs). 

 

Background: An important problem in optical packaging involves the optical interconnection (chip-chip connections) of planar-integrated photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and the connection of such circuits to the external world. PICs allow systems with high complexity and multiple functions to be integrated on a single substrate to allow the generation, detection, propagation and modulation of both optical and electrical signals.  But the optical components are made of materials that are not particularly compatible with materials for electronic components.

 

Advantages: 

*  By-passes incompatibility issues between optical materials and electronic materials

*  Uses off-the self polymer materials

 

Applications:

*  Fabrication of integrated opto-electronic components

*  Telecommunications

*  Fiber laser manufacturing

 

Silicon Photonic Devices With Tunable Temperature Dependence
Thu, 29 Nov 2018 13:06:03 GMT

Title:  Silicon Photonic Devices With Tunable Temperature Dependence

 

Invention:  Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed an athermal multichannel optical add-drop multiplexer (OADM) which is based on silicon microring resonators.  Using a means of controlling the thermo-optic coefficient of certain materials, the researchers have reduced the temperature dependent wavelength shifts to achieve athermal condition for various waveguide structures.

 

Background:  The emergence of social media, video streaming, online gaming, and IOT has led to significant increase in demand for data transfer and file sharing.  Datacenter and high performance computing are struggling to keep up because of thermal management challenges and limitations from electrical interconnects.  The transition to photonic devices would provide reliability, low cost, and increased functionality and support higher bandwidth, denser interconnects, reduced crosstalk and more advantages.  However, with a silicon photonics platform, silicon's thermo-optic coefficient can limit the application of these devices where large temperature changes are experienced.

 

Advantages: 

*  Reduced thermal shifts for waveguides

*  Minimal alteration to known materials

*  Wide variety of athermal optical devices can be fabricated

 

Applications:

*  Individual waveguide fabrication

* Complex optical waveguide circuits

*  Telecommunications

*  Data Centers

 

 

 

Fabrication Of Polymer Waveguide Interconnect Between Chips With A Gap/Step Using Flexible Polymer Dry Film Resist For Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs)
Thu, 29 Nov 2018 13:10:57 GMT

Title: Fabrication Of Polymer Waveguide Interconnect Between Chips With A Gap And/Or Step

 

Invention: This technology describes a new method to form a stable physical barrier between chips within a photonic integrated circuit (PIC), utilizing polymer dry film negative resist. The technique enables the  fabrication of polymer waveguide interconnects.

 

Background: The current standard of applying polymer dry film resists works well for a single chip However, when there is a gap or step between two chips, the resist can break at the gap/step upon removing the backing.

 

Applications:

  • Fabrication of polymer waveguide interconnects
  • Potential for use in creating PICs

 

Advantages:

  • Flexible
  • Provides a physical barrier for waveguides
  • Keep dry film intact

 

 

Snapshot Interferometer for Surface Profile and Roughness
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 12:42:46 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have designed an instrument that can take a "snapshot" of a surface's profile and roughness simultaneously. The non-contact metrology tool is high speed with high sensitivity, precision, and resolution. It can be used with a variety of light sources across various applications.

 

Background:
Metrology is an integral part of the automated manufacturing process. As new processes become automated, new technology must be developed to handle the imaging of more complex parts quickly, while being low-cost, scalable and, in many cases, portable. Instruments exist to measure either surface profile or surface roughness, but it would be more cost efficient to have a single instrument which could do both.

 

Applications:

  • Form measuring machines
  • Surface roughness measurement
  • Contour measuring tools
  • Roundness measurement
  • Portable metrology
  • In line metrology

Advantages:

  • Captures the profile and roughness in one take
  • Reduces imaging processing time
  • Longer coherence lengths than traditional light sources
  • Has multiple embodiments allowing for different applications
Integrated Optical I/O Port Combiner
Thu, 29 Nov 2018 13:12:17 GMT

Title:  Integrated Optical I/O Port Combiner

 

Invention:  Researchers at the University of Arizona have designed a polarization splitter rotator (PSR) that enables use of a single optical port for input and output signals simultaneously.  This allows the output ports to connect to a wider variety of components and frees up other I/O ports for additional functions, or reduces the number of optical I/O ports required on a photonic integrated circuit.

 

Background:  Polarization splitter rotators (PSR) are used to separate the different polarization states of a beam of light entering the input port of the rotator, into different output ports on a photonic integrated circuit (PIC). These are generally used in one direction only, and lack efficiency.

 

Advantages: 

*  Reduces the required number of optical I/O ports (or roughly doubles the number of available I/O ports)

*  Increases the utilization of the capacity available on the chip

*  Eliminates cross-talk and Bragg grating effect

 

Applications:

*  Photonic integrated circuits (PICs)

*  Telecommunications

 

 

3D Printed Lens for Imaging in Falloposcope
Tue, 15 Jun 2021 20:08:01 GMT

Invention:

This project proposes three improvements to a falloposcope under development. This falloposcope was designed with optical elements selected for detection of early stage ovarian cancer in fallopian tube epithelium. The data collected by the falloposcope is grounded in a growing body of medical research.

Falloposcopes were used in the 1990s to treat infertility through cannulation of tubal occlusions. However, use waned because devices were fragile and required greater training to use. Plus, IVF was gaining popularity and generally the preferred method for treating infertility. Pregnancy rates from IVF and falloposcopic tuboplasty (FT) were similar though, and better quality images might improve the diagnosis of tubal patency (health of lumen and mucosa) which is a factor for understanding infertility.

 

Background: Although rare, ovarian cancer is often deadly because it is detected late. Pelvic ultrasounds and the CA-125 blood test are generally accurate for detecting late stage III-IV ovarian cancer, but the survival rates are less than 30%, compared with > 90% survival rates for cancer detected in early stages, I-II. Therefore, there is strong interest in developing better early detection screening procedures, particularly for high risk women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation. A reliable early detection procedure would provide an option other than removal of all reproductive organs after 40 for high risk women.

Research includes examining early stage lesions on the surface of ovaries and fallopian tube epithelium. Access to the fallopian tubes through the cervix is an attraction option because it does not involve surgery; instead, falloposcopic examination can be done in a clinic with mild sedation. However, to be effective, a falloposcope must be small enough to pass through the narrow 1mm opening from the uterus to the proximal portion of the fallopian tube but it must have sufficient resolution and field of view to image the 4cm wide fimbral portion of the tube approximately 10cm away.

 

Applications:

  • Falloposcopic tuboplasty
  • Detection of early stage ovarian cancer

 

Advantages:

  • Small diameter
  • Sophisticated optics
  • Able to collect variety of data
Solar Generator with Two-Stage Optical Concentration Onto PV Cells
Wed, 29 Apr 2020 11:42:50 GMT

This technology is a photovoltaic (PV) solar power generator that leverages optical design principles to obtain high power conversion performance and the robustness of operation at lower cost.

 

Background:
As competition continues to grow within the solar power market, more efficient and less costly solar power systems are in high demand. This technology addresses that demand by providing a high performance optical design that focuses light onto multi-junction PV cells, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing cost for the power generated.

 

Applications:

  • Small-to-medium scale solar power generation

 

Advantages:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Decreased cost of operation
  • Decreased cost of assembly
  • More robust sun-tracking
Novel high refractive index and Abbie value polymers for advanced lower cost optical eyeware
Wed, 15 Sep 2021 11:17:20 GMT

Copolymerization of chalcogenide halides with widely available unsaturated monomers is used to create advanced polymer materials for consumer plastic optics, consumer eye ware, and smart phone plastic optics.. 

Background:
Sulfenyl chlorides are a widely known but largely ignored class of sulfur compounds that are highly reactive toward nucleophiles and electrophilic unsaturated compounds.  Sulfenyl chlorides are closely related to organosulfur thiol and mercaptan molecules were the R-S-H bond is replaced via chlorination reactions to form the R-S-Cl, which is constitutes the sulfenyl chloride moiety.  The S-Cl functional group is dipolar covalent in nature and can be considered a strong electrophile for attack by nucleophilic compoudnds such as, alcohols/alkoxides, Grignard reagents, organolithium reagents to form various organodisulfide compounds. 

The inventors have developed novel polymers focusing on the electrophilic addition of (organo)sulfenyl chlorides to unsaturated compounds, which primarily comprise of alkenyl and alkynyl molecules such as vinylics, styrenics, acrylates, allylics, cyclic olefins, and both internal and terminal alkynes. 

Applications:

  • Lenses with high Abbie number and high refractive index
  • Consumer optical plastics
  • Smartphone or technology optical plastics
  • Applications to microscope or telescope lenses

Advantages:

  • Improved performance and reduced cost compared to polycarbonate lenses
  • Solution or melt processing
  • Moderate temperature processing
  • Proton-free formation with no fluorination

 

Holographic Collector to Extend Energy Capture of East-West Mounted Bi-Facial PV Modules
Sat, 04 Feb 2017 14:46:28 GMT

Researchers at the University of Arizona have designed a holographic optical element that collects direct sunlight during midday time periods and diffracts the sunlight to the surfaces of a vertically mounted bi-facial PV panel. It can easily be integrated with existing bi-facial systems to greatly enhance performance during the midday time periods.

 

Background: 

Bi-facial photovoltaic (PV) solar cells are designed to capture and convert sunlight on the front and back surfaces of the cell. Vertically mounted bi-facial PV solar cells may be implemented to maximize solar energy conversion during morning and late afternoon periods, offsetting the higher energy demands that may occur during those time periods. However, vertically mounted bi-facial PV solar cells are limited in capturing direct sunlight during midday time periods.

 

Advantages:

  • Greatly improves collection efficiency for vertically mounted bi-facial PV systems
  • Easy to install on existing systems
  • Low cost to fabricate

Applications:

  • Solar energy collection for bi-facial PV systems
Polarization State Scrambler Using Birefringent Phase Mask
Sat, 21 Jul 2018 10:55:00 GMT

A University of Arizona researcher has designed a device to efficiently convert partially polarized and polarized light into light having randomly distributed polarizations, or more generally, into output light having a plurality of polarizations. The passive device provides almost instantaneous conversion of polarization, as opposed to the current methods which use a modulator that requires a signal generator and drive electronics. The novel device will be very useful for telecom, imaging, and illumination.

 

Background: 
In fiber optic communication systems, light signals are highly sensitive to polarization impairments such as polarization mode dispersion and polarization dependent loss. Lithium Niobate (LiNbO3) scramblers, which operate as a tunable waveplate that modulates the polarization state of light, are often utilized to mitigate some of the problems by converting a fixed incoming polarized light into random or pseudo-random polarized light at different times. In telecommunications, the scrambling rate should be faster than the inverse gain recovery time of the fiber amplifier. The scrambler should have low cost, low wavelength and temperature sensitivity and long lifetime.

 

Advantages:

  • Passive - no power required
  • Nearly instantaneous scrambling of polarization
  • Easy to reproduce in high volumes

Applications:

  • Telecommunications
  • Imaging
  • Illumination

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,067,837

Inexpensive External Cavity Diode Laser
Sat, 21 Jul 2018 10:23:41 GMT

This invention is a novel design on an external cavity diode laser that allows for significantly cheaper construction, as well as the possibility of new and more efficient optical designs.

 

Background: 

External cavity diode lasers are lasers that are capable of producing amazing results in specifically tailored tasks. As the field of quantum computing grows, external cavity diode lasers are anticipated to take a leading role in providing scalable quantum communication solutions. Like most advanced optical devices, cost has proven to be a large limitation in enabling smaller research organizations and private companies from adopting the technology on a wider scale. By providing a novel design, we are able to replace expensive components within an external cavity diode laser with efficient substitutes, enabling a wider adoption of the technology.

 

Advantages:

  • Easy to fabricate
  • Inexpensive and compact
  • Single frequency operation

Applications:

  • Consumer electronics
  • Atomic and molecular spectroscopy
  • Quantum communications

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,095,095

Micro-Scale Concentrated Photovoltaic Module
Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:44:12 GMT

This technology is a thin photovoltaic module that concentrates direct and diffuse sunlight onto each individual solar cell, which increases the efficiency. The concentrator lenses are designed to reduce tracking requirements, making these solar panels ideal for spaces requiring small footprints, such as buildings in dense urban areas. The design also includes a clever means of reducing the PV cell size under each lens so that the cells cool more efficiently.
 

Background:

Achieving concentration of sunlight onto photovoltaic cells in a small form factor has been a challenge.  Additionally, gathering light at large angles of incidence, to include diffuse radiation, can improve the collection efficiency by as much as 25%. However, getting both of these features into a thin form factor has not yet been achieved.
 

Advantages:

  • Small, lightweight solar panels
  • Cheaper solar panels
  • Greater efficiency for light collection


Applications:

  • Solar panels
  • OLED illumination
  • Focused light for greater power in electronic devices
     

Status: issued U.S. patents #10,505,059 and #11,056,599

Graphical User Interface for Electrophysiology Studies in Small Animals
Tue, 19 Jan 2016 14:00:07 GMT

This technology presents a Graphical User Interface (GUI) in conjunction with software written for recording and storing signals related to electrophysiological studies. Once recorded, this data can be filtered, extracted, and mapped, in color, to visualize properties. Developed along with corresponding techniques used in rat electrophysiology studies, this technology may provide further insight before testing proceeds to human subjects.

 

Background:
Nearly 2,000 electrophysiology labs in the U.S. and an expected 12 million atrial fibrillation patients by 2050 indicate that the market will continue to demand advanced EP devices that decrease ablation procedure times and improve success rates.

 

Applications:

  • Electrophysiological research, development, and testing
  • Medical electrophysiological monitoring
  • Quality assurance amongst non in-vivo uses where electrophysiology is still relevant
  • Potential for implementation in non-medical avenues such as educational institutions

 

Advantages:

  • Ability to test new drugs for arrhythmia risk and/or prevention
  • Easy to use GUI enables better research performance in the lab with minimal training
  • Clinically relevant color maps visualize properties of the tissue
  • Enhances understanding of electrophysiological behavior
High-Accuracy Receiver for Optical Object Discrimination
Fri, 18 Jun 2021 10:27:43 GMT

This invention describes a device that functions as a receiver for optical object discrimination in a highly accurate and complex way. This technology has applications and improvements in a large range of object discrimination-based technologies like QR or barcode readers.

Background:
Object discrimination technologies are widely used and have broad-ranging applications in various industries. The current standard and closest technology would be QR and passive barcode readers. The inventors have devised a new device and method and improve on applications and accuracy.

In this technology, the receiver will be utilized in high-stability contexts where 1- or 2-dimensional visual codes or other objects must be read or identified using small optics at large distances. Additionally, the technology will be a vast improvement in situations where the use of RF or other active signaling is precluded, for example, in automated sensing contexts.

Applications:

  • Optical object discrimination device using spatial mode analyzer or spatial parity sorter for the purpose of arbitrary 2D object classification
  •  Potential applications in astronomy, medical imaging, and other optical microscopy


Advantages:

  • Highly accurate
  • Diverse range of object discrimination applications
Optical Materials for Printing Glass Optics
Thu, 01 Jul 2021 09:41:21 GMT

This technology uses a liquid, solvent-free, silica precursor, and two-photon 3D printing process for high-precision glass micro-optics.

Background:
Inorganic glasses are widely used in industry due to their excellent optical, chemical, and thermal properties. Conventional grinding and polishing methods are the current standard for fabricating spherical, aspherical, and flat surfaces. However, this technique is slow, incapable of affording freeform surfaces, and not suitable for fabrication of glass micro-optics.

This technique will overcome the shortcomings of conventional techniques to allow for rapid fabrication of complex glass micro-optics.

Applications:

  • 3D printing of glass micro-optics
  • Additive manufacturing


Advantages:

  • Low shrinkage
  • Rapid fabrication
Formulaic Imaging for Tissue Diagnosis
Wed, 13 Nov 2013 14:52:38 GMT

This patented system (U.S. Patent 9,952,157) uses a combination of green and blue fluorescence with reflectance, aimed at simple but effective contrast improvements through division, multiplication, subtraction and additions of individual images. To the best of our knowledge no other formulaic images system based on three or more components uses near-UV or mid-UV excitation.

Observation is conducted at one or multiple wavelength bands ranging from 300-800 nm. Signal is related to emission of native fluorophores such as tryptophan, NADH, collagen, elastin and FAD and light that is reflected and/or has undergone multiple scattering and absorption events on native chromophores and scatterers. The formulaic computations are conducted based on a single, two and more images recorded at different optical configuration and named here A, B, C for illustration of three different images. In particular formulas based on ratios (A/B), three components ratios (A/B/C or A*B/C) and ratio with additions such as 1/(A+B) or A/(B+C), or subtractions such as 1/(A-B) and A/(B-C) are most useful. Fluorescence images obtained at excitation/emission ranges: (250-300)/(300-400), 320/(350-450), (340-360)/(400-500), (400-450)/500-600 are sensitive to protein synthesis, protein content, extracellular proteolysis, cellular metabolism, as well as the structure and content of the extracellular matrix, including collagen and elastin contained therein. Reflectance images at 350-400 nm, 400-440 nm, 450-500 nm, 530-600 nm, and longer wavelengths as they are related to vascularity and proliferation, which is important in that vascularity changes in disease processes such as cancer and inflammation.

Background
Formulaic video rate or still imaging provides maximal contrast between diseased tissue (lesions) and surrounding normal tissues, or between two different disease processes (such as cancer and inflammation), or between different grades of disease such as cancer, high grade dysplasia and low grade dysplasia (pre-cancer).

Synthetic formulaic images are computed with the goal to provide maximized contrast between lesions and surrounding normal tissue. Lesion refers to diseased tissue that includes but is not limited to cancer, pre-cancer, fibrosis, inflammation and ischemia. When implemented in endoscopy such computed formulaic images provides optimized lesion contrast, exceeding the contrast for normal white light visual observation without the need for labeling or manipulation of the tissue in a real-time manner.

Advantages

  • Not dependent on use of dyes
  • Formulaic images computed in real time
  • Easily integrated into endoscopes
  • Improves imaging of flat lesions that are easily missed
  • Well define lesion borders

Application

  • Detection of precancerous lesions of the cervix and oral cavity
  • Visualization of adenocarcinoma in colon specimens

Status
Further investigations will determine the efficacy of our methods in comparison to existing techniques. Investigators seek funding for instrument development as the current imager can only measure excised tissue as well as larger clinical study to obtain more data on small as well as flat lesions. This will extend their image library and help further optimize the image formula towards one that is most sensitive to small and flat lesions but also has high specificity.

Calibration Method for Photon Counting Detectors
Wed, 04 Apr 2018 15:29:00 GMT

This technology is a calibration method that could be a game changer for adoption of photon counting-based imagery. It solves long-standing challenges in the calibration of detectors used in medical imaging devices and is also useful for security screenings and other imaging photon counting detectors. The method is simple to use, requires less time than conventional calibration methods, and is easy to implement, while also pushing the current state of the art into additional applications.

 

Background:
The calibration process for photon counting-based imagery has been a hindrance to its broader adoption. The relative signal strengths of the light sensors within the photon counting detectors are used to estimate the position and energy attributes of each gamma-ray interaction. Several methods consisting of simple linear combinations of signals are conventionally used to estimate gamma-ray interaction position for monolithic crystal gamma-ray detectors. In order to apply these methods, detector calibration is necessary to determine the detector sensors response as a function of gamma-ray interaction position. However, each of these methods has significant disadvantages, such as being very time consuming or being unable to calibrate depth of interaction information. Accordingly, what is needed is an improved method for calibrating gamma-ray and photon counting detectors.

 

Applications:

  • Diagnostic imaging instruments, imaging centers and software providers
  • Hospitals and contract research organizations (CROs)
  • Medical research laboratories
  • Academic medical centers and universities
  • Security screening

Advantages:

  • Reliable
  • Easy to use
  • Efficient and precise
  • Allows for use of the whole camera frame
  • 3D calibration
  • Improves imaging accuracy

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