Negative Coefficient of Expansion Materials for Use in Military Sensing and Infrared Optics
Would a metal having a negative coefficient of thermal expansion be of interest for athermalizing infrared optics?
DSIAC was given information on ALLVAR Alloy 16, a material with a negative coefficient of thermal expansion, and asked to determine its utility for military sensing. DSIAC sent all material information to subject matter experts (SMEs) at the Georgia Tech Research Institution (GTRI) Electro-Optical (EO) Systems Laboratory for review. The SMEs have worked on numerous military sensor research and development (R&D) programs since the 1980’s, including those that have required the development and use of negative thermal expansion (NTE) materials and that have resulted in fielded systems. Experience in these programs indicated that thermal expansion/contraction is particularly problematic and can plague sensor systems based on fiber optics and photonics because of imparted phase noise. A response report describing the possible usefulness of NTE materials was drafted and delivered to the inquirer.