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Image of Infrared Powder
AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Assistant Chief Engineer, Dr. Larry Brott, displays infrared powder used to form pellets in the creation of infrared technologies for battlefield communication and training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Donna Lindner)

Battle Sight Technologies has acquired a second patent license related to infrared materials as signaling tools for nighttime military operations.

A year ago, Dr. Larry Brott of the Air Force Research Laboratory, along with his co-inventors, licensed a technology to BST for a pressure-activated marker that allows troops to communicate with written messages in low or no-light conditions (with or without night vision devices). A second patent by Dr. Brott and his team involving infrared phosphor technology has recently been licensed to BST, which expands to their existing collection of infrared technologies. This technology works similarly to the dials on a watch, absorbing ultraviolet light during the day, and emitting an infrared light at night.

This suite of infrared products, such as glow sticks or patches and packs displaying glow-in-the-dark reflective strips, are all used for battlefield communication and training. Additionally, these products are used to identify U.S. militaries’ locations to friendly ground forces and aircraft. Identification is a must when troops are partnering with foreign forces, including ununiformed soldiers using civilian trucks.

In March, the Air Force awarded Battle Sight Technologies $165,000 to continue developing products based off the core patches, tapes and molded parts to support low-light/no-light communication. The next steps include learning how to scale-up the production process. “We are used to making small, lab-scale batches where we can produce 15 crayons per day, said Brott. “We are getting such interest in this product that we are now being asked to make 200 crayons daily.”

Various “flavors” of crayons are also being requested that match different scenarios. Infrared crayons that leave no trace, and crayons that glow visibly at night while leaving a bright pink pigment mark for daytime viewing are a few examples. These variations are for first responders who might answer to a night-time train wreck. After searching a train car, they would mark it so that it would be visible at night, and also apparent once the sun rises. The future may hold a non-toxic version for home use; perhaps even as sidewalk chalk.

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