MANTIS – Miniature Affordable Novel Thermal Infrared Sensor
Award last edited on: 3/22/2023

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
DOD : Navy
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Atul Joshi

Company Information

Saaz Micro Inc

800 Calle Plano
Camarillo, CA 93012
   (805) 297-8128
Location: Single
Congr. District: 26
County: Ventura

Phase I

Contract Number: N68335-22-C-0582
Start Date: 7/27/2022    Completed: 2/3/2023
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
The Navy requires High Performance MWIR Sensor for Intermittent Deployment. A key aspect of the requirement is that the sensor can be provided in volume at very low cost. Navy has several applications with limited number of survivable missions which cannot afford current $50,000+ HD MWIR cameras. SAAZ team understands Navys needs as the team members have been working on lowering the cost of MWIR camera components for over two decades. Mr. Atul Joshi, the PI of this effort, used to be the senior director of camera operations at Teledyne Imaging. At Teledyne he led a team to develop one of the first low SWaP-C HOT MWIR cameras during 2005-2010. The team consisted of Teledyne business groups developing MCT detectors, ROICs, dewars, electronics, optics, systems engineering and sensor integration. The HOT MWIR cameras developed were benchmarked to be best in SWaP-C compared to contemporary camera from Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, FLIR, DRS, L3, and other prominent suppliers. There have been further developments in lowering the cost of thermal infrared cameras over the last decade, but they do not meet the Navys needs stated above. Currently microbolometer based uncooled LWIR camera have come down significantly in cost. They cost less than $2,000 in volumes of 1,000s, at least for VGA resolutions. SAAZ has developed such camera for primes. However, several applications cannot use microbolometers as they require improved performance offered by MWIR. Cryogenically cooled MWIR cameras still cost several tens of thousands, often the best performing ones over $50,000. For the last eight years the SAAZ team has been working on reducing the cost of cooled MWIR sensors. The team proposes to leverage all those developments and retire residual risk for the Navy under the phase-I SBIR so that a working ultra-low-cost camera can be successfully demonstrated within the phase-II. The key innovations are summarized below: ROIC an 8-micron pitch ROIC that is already commercialized will be used to reduce the risk Detector New advances in HOT MCT technology will be utilized as it is the highest operating temperature detector (by far) available in this band Cooling and package A new TEC package is proposed that allows the detector to cool to the desired temperature while keeping the package cost extremely low Electronics SAAZ has developed camera electronics on a chip (ASIC) that will reduce electronics SWaP-C by >10x Optics An innovative catadioptric telescope/lens assembly has been developed and the same concept is being modified for the proposed requirements to greatly reduce the cost of IR optics Phase I will conclude in a PDR design of the novel low-cost camera design offering 3x to 10x SWaP-C improvement. Phase-I option is proposed to prototype critical components based on the phase-I design. Phase-I option will conclude in a lab demo of these components with the team ready to assemble the complete camera in phase-II.

The Miniature Affordable Novel Thermal Infrared Sensor (MANTIS) will completely change the cost of cooled MWIR cameras. Currently Navy buys HD MWIR cameras in low volume for over $50,000. MANTIS will make it possible for Navy to deploy a MWIR camera for intermittent use in a cost-effective manner. The proposal shows cost breakup that with a Phase-II the camera cost can be brought down to $5,000 range in volumes of 1,000. A subsequent phase is planned (ManTech or corporate commercialization) that will further reduce the cost to the $2,000 target range. This MWIR camera will proliferate in DoD applications as well as find many commercial applications at that cost level. For the technology transition SAAZ is partnering with primes (support letters attached) who are assisting with this development as they have great need of this technology for various DoD customers. The plan is to get Phase-III funding from the primes or a ManTech, getting into LRIP within 2 years after phase-II ,and ramping up to >10,000 units per year within 4 years from phase-II. SAAZ and its partners will actively engage with the ongoing Navy programs to transition these sensors. SAAZ is a commercial company, and SBIRs will continue to be a small part of SAAZs revenue. SAAZ is very selective in proposing SBIRs for areas where SAAZ has proprietary market knowledge and when SAAZ is confident that the SBIR technology can be transitioned into a commercial product line. Our team is extremely bullish that this technology has a lot of traction and there is possibility of production ramp up even faster than planned.

MWIR, MWIR, Compact, HOT, Sensor, Infrared, SWAP, camera, Thermal

Phase II

Contract Number: ----------
Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase II year
Phase II Amount