Entry by:

OEwaves, USA

1. Describe the profound impact your technology – as part of an end-user product – has had on Society.  How has the population been impacted by your technology. This could be behavioral, economical, societal, etc.
Asymmetric warfare represents the majority of conflicts that the United States has been facing abroad; victims being both soldiers and innocent civilians. A tactic in asymmetric warfare is the use of mortars, artillery, and small missiles to inflict major harm to human life. The goal is defeating these projectiles before they reach their target: “shooting a bullet with a bullet.” This requires high agility to reach a small target within a few seconds of launch. This “bullet” is a small, highly maneuverable missile that quickly seeks and intercepts the deadly projectile. The lifesaving technology requires a tiny radar seeker to fit within the small missile. Conventional electronics cannot meet this demand, but OEwaves’ opto-electronic oscillator (OEO), configured with OEwaves’ crystalline whispering gallery mode resonator, does in a tiny form factor. This is a new paradigm for high performance radar and other surveillance needs for small defensive missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Question 2: Tell us about how your technology is unique?  What makes it stand out? How do you differentiate it from other similar technologies?
OEwaves’ opto-electronic oscillator combines a unique and patented opto-electronic feedback loop to generate highly spectrally pure microwave and mm-wave reference signals. The performance of the OEO is determined on the quality factor of the oscillator which is based on low loss optical storage elements such as fiber and resonators. Laser light provides the energy that circulates in the loop and generates the electronic reference signal. The unique optical whispering gallery mode crystal resonators developed at OEwaves allows architecting the oscillator in form factors as small as a postage stamp, nearly 500 times smaller than conventional reference oscillators. The unique approach provides unprecedented performance in a miniature form factor, allowing capabilities that are only available to large systems, on tiny radar and surveillance equipment. This unprecedented performance is representative of how optics can outperform electronics, even in generating reference electronic signals.

Question 3: When first launched, did your technology make a transformational change for the end-user or incremental changes by improving a current technology?  Describe this.
Without the OEO, the tiny defensive missile that can shoot small deadly projectiles out of the air within the short timeframe of seconds would have been impossible.  In fact, OEwaves’ technology was sought out and its development was supported by the Department of Defense solely because it is the only alternative currently available for realization of this capability.  The OEO is not only a transformational technology, its capabilities made the new shield of the defensive missile possible.

Question 4: Give a specific example (with company names) of the buying chain for your product/technology once you sell it to the next level buyer.  Provide an example of the succession of companies your product goes through, ultimately to get to an end-user.  Example:  We produce a component that we sell to a laser systems manufacturer (name the company) who sells it to a medical OEM (name the company), who then sells it to a hospital (name the hospital).
The new technology of OEO was specifically adopted by Army’s Extended Area Protection System (EAPS) in support of Lockheed Martin’s development of a tiny missile.  It is currently being provided to the Army by Lockheed Martin, to which OEwaves is a sub-contractor.

Question 5: In which vertical market(s) would you classify the end-users of this technology?

Question 6: Give us your one sentence “elevator pitch” you would use to tell a non-technical person about your technology and the critical role it plays in Society.
Our laser-based oscillator is the eye of the radar, and its performance allows radar to see farther and clearer.

Question 7: Surprise Us!  What else should we know about your product/technology?
It combines optical components including linear optics (in the form of high Q), nonlinear optics (as a Kerr frequency comb), and electronic components to produce the highest spectral purity in microwave and millimeter waves.  That is the surprise!

Additional information.

  1. Eaves-microOEO.jpg
  2. OEwaves’ Micro-Opto-Electronic Oscillator (Micro-OEO) Supports Successful Miniature Interceptor Test Flight Press Release (doc)
  3. Mico-Opto-Electronic Oscillator (jpg)