TABLE 6-1 Committee Estimates of the Probability of Impact of Four Areas of Nanophotonics on U.S. Strategic and Critical Military Capabilities

Strategic and Critical Military Capabilities

Plasmonics

Photonic Crystals

Metamaterials

Confined Semiconductor Structures

Mid- and long-wavelength in infrared imaging

EH

M

EH

EH

Chemical/biological threats

EH

H

H

H

Secure communications (encryption, decoding, electromagnetic eavesdropping)

H

H

H

H

Situational awareness

H

H

H

H

Secure computing

H

H

H

H

Electronics systems on weapons platforms

H

H

H

H

Battlefield control

H

M

H

H

Stealth

H

L

H

L

Countermeasures—infrared and visible

M

L

M

H

Weapons platforms

Nuclear weapons

NOTE: Code for estimated probability of impact: EH = Extremely High; H = High; M = Medium; L = Low; — = None.

would have the opportunity, obligation, and competence to prohibit unacceptably risky nanophotonics components, modules, or subsystems from being used in each of the militarily critical capabilities listed in Table 6-1. A summary of the rankings given in Table 6-1 follows.

  • The committee believes that plasmonics and metamaterials could eventually play an important role in this nation’s stealth capability, especially in the shorter electromagnetic (EM) wavelength region of the spectrum—namely, the ultraviolet (UV), visible, and near- and far-infrared (IR) regions. This is the EM region where nano dimensions play a role, thus falling within the nanophotonics purview of the committee. The committee believes that photonic crystals and confined semiconductor structures have a low probability of playing a role in stealth technology. The committee recommends that the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Technology Warning Division pay particular attention to the two nanophotonics technologies (plasmonics and metamaterials) assigned a High impact probability in the stealth area because, while large obstacles still remain to be overcome before nanophotonics can impact the short-wavelength (i.e., visible, near IR, and far IR) stealth area, one needs to be prepared to take advantage of any technical breakthroughs that may occur.



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