Q&A for Project Call:  Integrating MWIR and LWIR Laser Sources into AIM Photonics

Q1: What are the requirements on the spectral bandwidth, output power, and size of the MWIR laser (3-5 um) source?

A1:  The goal of this project is the integration of MWIR and LWIR semiconductor laser sources onto the AIM photonics platform.  As there is significant variability in the designs of all semiconductor lasers that operate in this spectral region, there are no bandwidth, output power, or size requirements.  Nevertheless, approaches that will result in favorable attributes will be viewed positively.

Q2 Do you consider fiber-based laser source or glass waveguide laser source at 3-5 um to be responsive to this effort?

A2:  We are not considering either off-chip or on-chip solid-state laser sources under this effort.  This topic is devoted to all opto-electronic architectures, but a driving future goal will likely be off-chip coupling into a MWIR- and/or LWIR-compatible fiber for low-loss, high-beam quality, and low dispersion waveform transport for a number of applications.  This is not the subject of the current call.

Q3: How many awardees are expected?

A3: The government anticipates one or multiple awards pending available funding but reserves the right to fund zero awards if the responses are deemed technically or programmatically lacking.

Q4: The funding profile indicates that there will be an allocation of $402K for FY17. Since the fiscal year will end even before the due date for the proposals, does this mean that the $402K will shift to FY18? Will FY18 funding = $402K + $100K = $502K?

A4: The funding profile will not change.  Given the timing, $502K of funding will be released in FY18 to fund this work.  Depending on when FY18 funds are released the effort will either start with $502K or start with $402K and have $100K of funds incrementally added when they become available.  These funds will be comprised of $402K of FY17 funds and $100K of FY18 funds, since this money is good for five years, and this work must be completed before then, the FY of the funding should be irrelevant.  It is up to the proposers to optimally layout a program that works towards topic resolution while adhering to the funding profile available under this effort.

Q5: Can the cost matching contribution of 25% come from a subcontractor on the proposal? For example, if company X will provide laser material on this proposal via subcontracting to the prime, will the contributions of company X in the area of “Integrating MWIR and LWIR Sources” count towards this 25%?

A5: Yes, the cost matching requirement is cumulative over all of the entities that comprise the proposal team.

Q6: Do subcontractors need to become a member of AIM?

A6: The answer to this question depends on the subcontractor’s level of involvement, type of involvement, and area of involvement in the effort.  For example, a QCL laser supplier that is part of a team (e.g. Q5 above) and potentially contributing cost matching in the form of sample lasers but still requiring some funds for e.g. test and measurement, would not likely be required to become an AIM Photonics member.  A subcontractor that is e.g. providing integrated photonics design services under the effort but which is not an AIM Photonics member would likely be required to become an AIM Photonics member because they would be viewed as operating in the same ecosystem as AIM Photonics while trying to benefit from AIM Photonics but not wanting to join AIM Photonics.  Generally speaking, companies providing capabilities in fields obliquely related to AIM Photonics may not be required to become members while anyone working within the AIM Photonics ecosystem would be required to be an AIM member to receive AIM funding.  A possible exception to this would be an effort proposed by a member of AIM Photonics where a non-AIM Photonics company is to receive a large fraction of the funds available.  This could be problematic for obvious reasons and would likely need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Q7: Can past recent (1 – 2 years back) investments (e.g. capital equipment, talent, seedlings, etc) be considered part of the 25% matching?

A7: No, for the purposes for this effort any investment sought to be counted as cost matching must be in response to this effort and can only be countered to the extent that it addresses this effort.  For example, equipment purchased to support this effort can be counted if it is unique and will be at the disposal of this effort alone.  The purchase of a general-purpose oscilloscope, which as its name implies is a general-purpose item and can be used for other work, may not be honored by the government on a dollar-per-dollar basis.  A company’s “donation” of e.g. 30% of an FTE to work on this project would likely be honored as is.  Prior investments in e.g. infrastructure, capital equipment, talent etc. should/can be included in one’s proposal to increase its competitiveness but do not constitute cost matching.

Q8: What type of contract will RF SUNY be awarding under this effort?

A8: The structure of the award will most likely be a cost-reimbursement contract with a not-to-exceed federal cumulative yearly amount as shown in the funding profile located on page one of the call for proposals.  For proposals anticipating this type of award, the milestone schedule (the last tab in the budget template) can be left blank.  Any proposal from an e.g. FFRDC or company without a DCAA accredited accounting system would likely need to fill this budgetary information out.

Q9: On page two of the call for proposals there was a note about administration costs.  How do I know if my proposal is subject to these and what are they?

A9: Yes all proposals are subject to these fees as RF SUNY has to initiate contracts and monitor the progress of the resulting effort (at least programmatically).  Based on the funding profile, cost, and a number of other factors, an administration fee of $170k has been determined for this effort which shall be considered as follows, 50% FY17, 15% FY18, 15%FY19, 10%FY20 and 10% FY21.  

Q10:  Can a subcontract from small company can be used as cost matching?  Can the matching provided be from either a SBIR or a STTR related effort?

A10:  Yes cost matching can come from any portion of the proposing team [See also Question and Answers 5, 6, and 7].  

Nevertheless, cost matching cannot be “provided” by another government effort i.e. federal dollars under an SBIR effort cannot be counted as cost matching under this federal effort.  Notwithstanding the above noted restrictions the Government is sympathetic to small business trying to grow in this space and there may be other ways they can provide cost matching (e.g. providing existing IP to AIM for use in MPW offerings; the company would still retain licensing rights should someone want to use the IP in the realization of a commercial product).