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Irvine Sensors Receives $3.2 Million in Phase 2 SBIR Awards

November 9, 2007

The government-funded contracts are for defense applications, but the vision systems company plans to pursue near-term commercialization opportunities.


COSTA MESA, CA /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Irvine Sensors Corp. announced that it has received four Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards over the past 5 months, aggregating $3.2 million in contract value. The contracts were won in competition with other Phase 1 SBIR contractors for innovations in electronics cooling, power storage to replace batteries, ultra-miniature night-vision viewers, and electronics anti-tamper devices. The awards are funded by various government units, with identified defense applications for the respective technologies. However, one of the selection criteria for Phase 2 SBIR awards is the ability to also find commercial markets for the developed technology, and consistent with that aim, Irvine Sensors has identified and plans to pursue near-term commercialization opportunities.

In the first instance, two of the recent SBIR Phase 2 awards involve development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices. The most recent of these SBIR MEMS awards, received in October, addresses the key issue of heat dissipation, which has become an increasingly severe problem for both commercial and defense electronics because electronics chips have become faster and more powerful. Irvine Sensors has conceived and plans to develop a proprietary MEMS-based micro pump to drive cooling fluid through micro channels in the electronic devices at low pressure, as opposed to high pressures associated with present solutions, which require correspondingly higher power.

Another award involves the development of a proprietary MEMS answer to AA battery replacement, involving a novel miniature combustion engine that uses butane or other easily available combustible liquids to provide higher energy for longer periods of time than lithium-ion technology. The technology is anticipated to have far-reaching applications if successfully developed and produced in volume.

In a third instance, the award involves an extension of Irvine Sensors' proprietary IR camera technology to further levels of miniaturization. The specific developmental goal of the contract is to exploit Irvine Sensors' high-density 3D electronics technology and expertise to provide a several-fold reduction in size and weight of night-vision goggles and other viewers, which should make them more comfortable to wear for both defense applications and such potential commercial applications as industrial security and fire fighting.

Finally, in an award announced in August 2007, the contract involves the development of a system to protect high-value and sensitive electronics and software from piracy and reverse engineering. Keeping adversaries and competitors from reverse engineering information from electronics devices is rapidly becoming an industrywide hot button for both military and commercial users.

All but the first of these SBIR contracts were included in the year-ending backlog announced on October 22, 2007.

About Irvine Sensors
Irvine Sensors Corp., headquartered in Costa Mesa, CA, is a vision systems company engaged in the development and sale of miniaturized IR and electro-optical cameras, image processors, and stacked chip assemblies; the manufacture and sale of optical systems and equipment for military applications through its Optex subsidiary; and research and development related to high-density electronics, miniaturized sensors, optical interconnection technology, high-speed network security, image processing, and low-power analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits for diverse systems applications.


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