Q&A for Project Call:  Development of a Prototype Focal Plane Array (FPA) Cryogenic Integrated Photonic Datalink

1.       Q: Am I free to pass on this “request for project” to other companies that might be interested in being involved as a team member or a team leader?

A: Yes, please feel free to pass the Call for Proposals (CFP) to companies that you think may be interested in performing/teaming for this project.  Please note, as indicated in the CFP, proposing organizations should agree to become members of AIM Photonics prior to the project being awarded.

2.       Q: Does the FPA already exist and are we to develop and integrate only the Photonic datalink? If the FPA is not supplied then is it preferred to integrate the FPA and the Photonic Datalink within the same PIC?

A: Proposers are encouraged to contact interested DoD industry partners who can answer questions specific to their existing products. The vision of the project is to make an integrated photonic data link that is as widely compatible with as many DoD FPA ROICs as possible.

3.       Q: Is the FPA package based on a wafer level substrate or a singulated substrate? What is the approximate size for either one?

A: Proposers are encouraged to contact interested DoD industry partners who can answer questions specific to their existing products.

4.       Q: If the prototype is successful is the intention to move into high volume? What is your perception of high volume production? Units per year?

A: The prototype is intended to inform the way forward to produce a “dual use” (Defense and Commercial) integrated photonic data link that can be integrated as widely as possible into high bandwidth FPA applications.

5.       Q: Can a DoD Industry Partner be on more than one proposal team?

A: DoD Industry Partners can participate on multiple teams.  The DoD Industry Partner is responsible for protecting the confidential information of each team they are on.

6.       Q: Can DoD industry lead the proposal?

A: DoD Industry partners can submit proposals, the same as all other proposers, and are expected to work with as many of the other DoD Industry partners as possible, to include all of those referenced in CFP. If DoD industry does propose to lead the proposal they should provide approach details that show that all DoD partners involved are treated equally and that the lead will not favor their design

7.       Q: The proposal budgets have a number of requirements for proposal pricing. The response time is too fast for us to practically put together a fully compliant proposal including detailed quotes for material, labor rates for the different class of cost applied for hours, formal pricing and reviews.  We'd like to know how best to supply budget information for proposal evaluation.

A: Provide a proposed budget which shows how and where government and matching funds will be applied, how the funds are distributed by task, labor, travel, capital and materials, time phased expenditure by task, and indirect cost rates with government agreement.  Tasks and associated costs should not be underestimated.

8.       Q: On the Call for Proposals, are there known US-based PIC design houses that are recommended (or even known) at this stage? Do any of the DoD partners have the competency or is the principal expected to find a design house (or do themselves)?

A: There is US-based PIC Design capability which can be engaged by proposers. The US Based PIC Design Capability exists as stand-alone companies as well as capability that may exist within companies. To be fair to all parties and not show preference to any company, AIM Photonics is not providing a list of companies with design capabilities.

9.       Q: How many DoD Industry partners are required to demo the FPA/optic link?

A: As stated in the Call for Proposals scope, the integrated photonics component should be designed to be as widely compatible with as many DoD FPA ROICs as possible.  "Widely compatible" is defined as capable of working with as many as possible DoD FPA ROICs while minimizing the need for derivative PIC designs.  Per Task 3, the project awardee shall package the photonic integrated circuit (PIC) with a representative FPA ROIC into 2 or more laboratory dewars at DoD industry partners.  Proposals to test the prototype with a greater number of DoD industry partners will be rated more favorably.  PICs should be tested as FPA cryogenic integrated photonic datalinks to demonstrate wide compatibility with DoD industry partner ROICs and to demonstrate the PIC meets the performance requirements specified in the Call for Proposal.