Research & Development Group
Omega Optical embraces a vision that goes beyond designing and fabricating state-of-the-art thin film filters. Our R&D team brings expertise in optical science, physics, chemistry, materials science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, bioengineering, and software. The group focuses on leveraging Omega’s thin film expertise to create products that rely on advanced thin films. Currently, the R&D team is addressing two key areas: solar conversion and multispectral scanning.
Our solar goal centers on creating a solar cell prototype enabling significant reductions in module cost and significant increases in module efficiency – leading to acceptable payback times. Key thin films in our cells include organic absorbers, and electrodes that are both optically transparent and electrically conductive. The potential of low cost organic PV materials has not been widely realized because of low efficiency relating to electronic mobility and excitonic diffusion lengths. We contend that organic thin film deposition parameters can be adjusted to optimize these parameters and maximize PV efficiency. Further, organic materials can be configured to harvest multiple spectral bands. We plan to separate these bands via cost-effective spectral splitting for efficient collection by the appropriate material. Ultimately, we plan to integrate our designs with residential and commercial building materials. This effort has been co-funded by Omega Optical and the Department of Energy.
Our biomedical goal centers on developing a high-speed fiber optic based optical spectrum analyzer (OSA) that can enable real time multispectral imaging of cancer at the cellular level. Existing technologies have not combined sufficient spatial, spectral, and temporal resolution in one instrument. Standard spectrometer acquisition speeds are not fast enough to generate multispectral data at rates that avoid spatial impairments due to the movements of living biological samples. The central innovation in this effort is that spectra can be acquired for each pixel in a confocal spatial scan by using our fast fiber based spectrometer. This project leverages several Omega filter designs, which are already deployed in the fluorescence market. Ultimately, biomedical researchers will use this new technology to catalog extensive libraries of multispectral images showing tumor angiogenesis and subsequent metastisis. These enhanced libraries will lead to several applications in pathology labs, oncology labs, and clinics. Clinicians will use the technology to take optical biopsies, perform treatments, and monitor long-term results. Patients will have access to real-time diagnosis and treatment. Surgeons will be able to optimize surgical margins – extending the lives of many cancer victims. Further, this technology will have applications in food & water testing, pharmaceutical product screening, general laboratory microscopy, and flow cytometry. This project is funded by a Phase II SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute within the National Institutes of Health.
The above projects are generating results that may find applications beyond the solar and biomedical arenas. Possibilities include customized transparent conductive oxides, thin film spectral blocking layers, coated fiber tips, and filters with low wave front distortion.