Massachusetts-based QD Vision announced this week that it had been awarded a $900,000 DARPA contract to build two prototype devices based on its quantum dot-based infrared material.According to published reports, QD Vision “will deliver to DARPA a device with quantum dots as an emissive layer in an electroluminescent electronic device application, and a second, photoluminescent device that is based on a film that is activated by external light sources.”
"This program will leverage QD Vision's experience in developing stable, efficient IR materials for tactical applications," said Jason Carlson, President and CEO of QD Vision. "This is our second DARPA Program as a prime contractor, and we are excited to demonstrate these novel materials in two distinct modes of operation."This most recent contract follows a US $22 million funding round received just this past May. So, for the company to get a nearly$1 million DARPA contract in just three months must have caused a sigh of relief in the investors.
To get a great backgrounder on the development of quantum dots for application in infrared detectors I refer you to this article written last year by Edward Sargent here on the pages of Spectrum.
In the article, Sargent points out just how quickly infrared detectors based on quantum dots are developing into commercial devices:
It appears that commercial development might have been closer than Sargent had even imagined. Granted, it's only a contract for defense department prototypes, but it's a sale nonetheless.
"Much closer to commercial development are quantum dots that are exquisitely sensitive to faint infrared light. With only a few years of research behind them, these devices now perform as well as the best traditional infrared detectors."
Dexter Johnson is a contributing editor at IEEE Spectrum, with a focus on nanotechnology.