Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting research proposals in the area of Visible/Short Wave Infrared-Photon Counting Arrays (PCAR). Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in science, devices or systems. Specifically excluded is research which primarily results in evolutionary improvement to the existing state of practice
DARPA is soliciting proposals under this BAA for the performance of research, development, design and testing that directly supports revolutionary advances in imaging technology at extremely low levels of ambient illumination, from the visible through the short wave infrared. The goal is to develop large format, high resolution imaging sensors compatible with on-focal plane image enhancement and image transmission technologies. Imaging at extremely low levels of illumination, where images are obtained with only a few photon events, allows operation in a wide variety of environments and situations, and imaging in conditions where current sensors are inadequate. The overall program goal is development of imaging technology with performance and image quality exceeding current low light level imagers and image intensifiers and extension of the response into the short wave infrared.
Operating near background photon fluctuation limits is the ultimate technology goal, with high quantum efficiency sensors that have photon counting capability from the visible to the short-wave infrared. Innovative techniques must be developed for achieving a high gain with near-zero excess noise in a high-density array format. High dynamic range is also important since the sensor must operate over a wide range of light levels. A large format array, with small pixels for imaging at high light level, and novel approaches for amplification with near-zero noise for conditions of extremely low ambient illumination, addresses the need for high resolution and imaging at low photon flux.
The sensitivity and resolution must be accompanied by high dynamic range and the ability to image in the presence of high intensity sources without image artifacts. The high-resolution sensor technology must include controls to limit cross talk between pixels, especially with high illumination.
Intended applications include unattended sensors, surveillance sights, and micro-vehicles both air and ground. Missions are envisioned from both stationary and mobile platforms. The mobile platforms require sensors imaging at sufficiently high frame rate to reduce or eliminate smear in the image. Applications also include communication among sensors in an unattended sensor network or between sensors in different platforms. The sensor output must be compatible with high-speed image transmission technology at the data rates required for imaging large format arrays.
In all applications the power requirement is an important system consideration. Innovative low power device technology and power management strategies must be incorporated into the sensor array to reduce power requirements.
Operating at room temperature considerably reduces power, sensor size and weight, and facilitates the development of micro-sensor system concepts. The micro-sensor concept opens new system applications, not previously possible with sensors that require cooling to maintain acceptable levels of dark current. Strategies for reduction of material defects and minimization of dark current at the device level must be developed to keep power at absolute minimum.
The Visible/Short Wave Infrared-Photon Counting Arrays program will consist of a Phase I (approximately 12 months) followed by a Phase II (approximately 12 months) and Phase III (approximately 12 months) for those efforts that appear to have the greatest potential for production, insertion, transition or overall benefit to DoD. Awards are expected to be made during the third quarter of fiscal year 2005. Organizations wishing to participate in Phase II and Phase III should include them as options in their proposal (separate options for each phase) Multiple awards are anticipated. Collaborative efforts/teaming are encouraged. A web site http://teaming.sysplan.com/BAA-05-06/ - has been established to facilitate formation of teaming arrangements between interested parties. Specific content, communications, networking, and team formation are the sole responsibility of the participants. Neither DARPA nor the Department of Defense (DoD) endorses the destination web site or the information and organizations contained therein, nor does DARPA or the DoD exercise any responsibility at the destination. This web site is provided consistent with the stated purpose of this BAA. Cost sharing is not required and is not an evaluation criterion but is encouraged where there is a reasonable probability of a potential commercial application related to the proposed research and development effort. The technical POC for this effort is Dr. Raymond Balcerak, fax: (703) 696-2206, electronic mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposers must obtain a pamphlet entitled !?BAA 05-06, Visible/Short Wave Infrared-Photon Counting Arrays Proposer Information Pamphlet!? which provides further information on Visible/Short Wave Infrared-Photon Counting Arrays, the submission, evaluation, and funding processes, proposal abstract formats, proposal formats, and other general information. This pamphlet may be obtained from the FedBizOpps website: http://www.fedbizopps.gov/, World Wide Web (WWW) at URL http://www.darpa.mil/ or by fax, electronic mail, or mail request to the administrative contact address given below. Proposals not meeting the format described in the pamphlet may not be reviewed. In order to minimize unnecessary effort in proposal preparation and review, proposers are strongly encouraged to submit proposal abstracts in advance of full proposals. An original and (9) copies of the proposal abstract and two electronic copies (i.e., two separate disks) of the abstract [in PDF (preferred), MS-Word readable, HTML, or ASCII format each on a single 3.5 inch High Density MS-DOS formatted 1.44 Megabyte (MB) diskette, a single 100 MB Iomega Zip?? disk, or a CD-ROM] should be submitted. Each disk must be clearly labeled with BAA 05-06, proposer organization, proposal title (short title recommended) and Copy __ of 2. The proposal abstract (original and designated number of hard and electronic copies) must be submitted to DARPA/MTO, 3701 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203-1714 (Attn.: BAA 05-06) and it must be received by DARPA on or before 12:00 p.m., local time, Thursday, December 16, 2004. Proposal abstracts received after this time and date may not be reviewed. Upon review, DARPA will provide written feedback on the likelihood of a full proposal being selected and the time and date for submission of a full proposal. Proposers not submitting proposal abstracts must submit an original and (9) copies of the full proposal and two electronic copies (i.e., two separate disks) of the full proposal [in PDF (preferred), MS-Word readable, HTML, or ASCII format, each on a single 3.5 inch High Density MS-DOS formatted 1.44 Megabyte (MB) diskette, a single 100 MB Iomega Zip?? disk, or a CD-ROM]. Each disk must be clearly labeled with BAA 05-06, proposer organization, proposal title (short title recommended) and Copy __ of 2. The full proposal (original and designated number of hard and electronic copies) must be submitted to DARPA/MTO, 3701 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203-1714 (Attn.: BAA 05-06), and must be received by DARPA on or before 12:00 p.m., local time, Tuesday, February 22, 2005, in order to be considered during the initial round of selections; however, proposals received after this deadline may be received and evaluated up to one year from date of posting on FedBizOpps. Full proposals received after the due date specified in the BAA or due date otherwise specified by DARPA after review of proposal abstracts may be selected contingent upon the availability of funds. This notice, in conjunction with the BAA 05-06 Proposer Information Pamphlet, constitutes the total BAA. No additional information is available, nor will a formal RFP or other solicitation regarding this announcement be issued. Requests for the same will be disregarded. The Government reserves the right to select for award all, some, or none of the proposals received and to make awards without discussions. All responsible sources capable of satisfying the Government's needs may submit a proposal which shall be considered by DARPA. Input on technical aspects of the proposals may be solicited by DARPA from non-Government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements. Non-Government technical consultants/experts will not have access to proposals that are labeled by their offerors as !?Government Only!?. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Institutions (MIs) are encouraged to submit proposals and join others in submitting proposals; however, no portion of this BAA will be set aside for HBCU and MI participation due to the impracticality of reserving discrete or severable areas of research in Visible/Short Wave Infrared-Photon Counting Arrays.
All administrative correspondence and questions on this solicitation, including requests for information on how to submit a proposal abstract or full proposal to this BAA, should be directed to one of the administrative addresses below; e-mail or fax is preferred. DARPA intends to use electronic mail and fax for correspondence regarding BAA 05-06. Proposals and proposal abstracts may not be submitted by fax or e-mail; any so sent will be disregarded. DARPA encourages use of the WWW for retrieving the Proposer Information Pamphlet and any other related information that may subsequently be provided.
Evaluation of proposal abstracts and full proposals will be accomplished through a technical review of each proposal using the following criteria, which are listed in descending order of relative importance: (1) overall scientific and technical merit, (2) potential contribution and relevance to DARPA mission, (3) plans and capability to accomplish technology transition, (4) offeror's capabilities and related experience, and (5) cost realism. Note: cost realism will only be significant in proposals which have significantly under or over-estimated the cost to complete their effort.
The administrative addresses for this BAA are:
Fax: (703) 351-8710 (Addressed to: DARPA/MTO, BAA 05-06),
Electronic Mail: BAA05email@example.com
Mail: DARPA/MTO, ATTN: BAA 05-06
3701 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203-1714
This announcement and the Proposer Information Pamphlet may be retrieved via the WWW at URL http://www.darpa.mil/ in the solicitations area.
Who can apply:
Eligible functional categories:
Research and Technology Development
Visible/Short Wave Infrared-Photon Counting Arrays (PCAR)
If you have problems accessing the full announcement, please contact:
Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Contracts Management Office