Tech Briefs

Sensing Suspicious Powders Using Noncontact Optical Methods

Suspicious powder incidents continue to be a disruptive and costly problem. In-situ assessment of suspicious powders within inorganic matrices, particularly with powders of biological origin, is currently limited to detection by biochemical methodologies that react with monomers such as amino acids, nucleic acids, lipids, or macromolecule compounds comprised of these basic subunits. Current optical methods such as Raman spectroscopy using excitation in the near infrared at 785 nm or visible at 532 nm, have not been able to detect or distinguish biological materials from background or other materials.

Posted in: Briefs, Defense, Sensors, Instrumentation, Test & Measurement, Optics, Biohazards

Isotope Beta-Battery Approaches for Long-Lived Sensors

The energy density of isotopes exceeds that of chemical energy storage by six orders of magnitude. Isotopes are used in many commercial applications, and are produced and available at modest prices. The power requirements of many sensors and communications equipment can greatly reduce the power requirements of many devices such as sensors, light sources, and transmitters. Chemical batteries are the mainstay of power for these devices. However, chemical batteries have limited lifetimes. This makes remote use and replacement difficult for applications extending the lifetime use.

Posted in: Briefs, Defense, Power Management, Sensors, Batteries, Sensors and actuators

Selective, Sensitive, and Robust Electrochemical Detection of Anthrax

There exists an unmet need for rapid, sensitive, and field-stable assays for pathogen detection. Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of anthrax poisoning. This Gram-positive bacterium secretes a tripartite toxin including a cell-binding protective antigen (PA), and the delivered toxins edema factor (EF) and lethal factor (LF). Anthrax poisoning has high mortality and, when delivered in the form of B. anthracis spores, has a very high environmental stability.

Posted in: Briefs, Defense, Sensors, Biohazards

Detecting Trace Levels of Explosives Using Vibrational Sum Frequency Spectroscopy

The threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to human life is grave, and countering this threat is a high priority for force protection during military operations. Remote, standoff detection of in-place IEDs would be a significant step forward in mitigating the threat posed by these weapons.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Physical Sciences, Sensors and actuators, Military vehicles and equipment

Reduced Order Modeling for Rapid Simulation of Blast Events of a Military Ground Vehicle and its Occupants

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) pose a significant threat to military ground vehicles and soldiers in the field. Full-system end-to-end models, as well as Reduced Order Modeling and Simulation (M&S) methodologies, are extensively used for the development of blast-worthy ground vehicles.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Information Technology, Test & Measurement, Computer simulation, Hazards and emergency management, Injuries, Military vehicles and equipment

Software Tool Enables High-Fidelity Simulation of Explosive Device Effects

High-fidelity simulation tools are used as an acceptable surrogate for real-world tests. These tools accelerate development and reduce cost, while informing weapons development and systems survivability for defense and homeland security applications. As weapons grew in complexity, analytical methods became insufficient and high-fidelity computational methods became necessary.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Simulation Software, Software, Test & Measurement, Computer simulation, Hazards and emergency management

Continuous Sputter Deposition Coating of Long Monofilaments

A thin, uniform coating on long segments of monofilament could drastically improve the functionality of many complex fibers. A length of fishing line, microtubing, or polylactic acid (PLA) coated with copper could be left to cure within an epoxy, and upon removal of the monofilament, a narrow channel with a thin outer wall of copper would remain. That channel would be open for fluid flow, and also have a conductive shell. The “vascularized” material could be used for thermal management or self-healing composites.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Thermal management, Adhesives and sealants, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Copper, Fibers, Hoses