LEXINGTON, Kentucky, September 9, 2022 – The ability to develop and field aerial vehicles capable of hypersonic flight is a key priority of the U.S. Department of Defense. Among the many challenges faced by these vehicles, which will travel at or above Mach 5 – five times the speed of sound – are the aggressive demands placed on the windows that protect the vehicles’ infrared optical sensors.
In late 2021, Engi-Mat received SBIR funding from the U.S. Navy in response to its proposal, “Hypersonic Infrared Windows Enabled by Advanced Nanomaterials”. Now, Engi-Mat has received additional funding to continue its research, based on the promising technical results achieved during the first six months. Of the three small businesses that were initially funded, Engi-Mat is the only one to receive additional research funding. During the remainder of the 12-month program, Engi-Mat will continue the development of novel nanomaterials that are optimized to enable high-performance optical sensing while meeting the demands of high heat fluxes and high air pressures.
The requirements of this effort will call directly upon the expertise that has been developed at Engi-Mat over many years related to the development and production of complex high-performance powders. The program builds directly upon the success that Engi-Mat achieved in a recent STTP program which concluded in 2018. During the U.S. Air Force-funded program titled “Manufacturing Scale-Up of High-Purity Optical Ceramics,” Engi-Mat developed and demonstrated the capability to reliably produce multiple different high-purity optical nanopowders in large volumes with tight control over purity, stoichiometry, and particle size. The ability to deliver these volumes has led directly to production orders for the company and has set the stage for the expansion of Engi-Mat’s capabilities under this proposal.