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Wilmington, DE, United States

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 783.07K | Year: 2015

Due to their high specific strength and light weight properties, polymer matrix composites (PMCs) are increasingly used in a wide variety of military and civilian aircrafts. The mechanical strength of PMCs can be dramatically compromised when such materials are exposed to various heat sources during operation and maintenance. It has been shown that PMCs can lose up to 80% of their mechanical strength when exposed to aggressive environment without causing any defective signs, which can be either visually examined or detected with conventional non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technique. In this SBIR project, AlphaSense aimed at developing a novel handheld NDE sensor to detect and quantify incipient heat damages in composite airframe structures. In Phase I, we have successfully proven the feasibility. Phase II will focus on sensor performance improvement, identification of potential confounding factors and elimination techniques, and field- deployable sensor prototype implementation and testing.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT:Cognitive skills/capabilities are important for the military personnel to fulfill tasks and to ensure mission efficiency and success. In the past decade, there are abundant researches suggesting that non-invasive brain stimulation via transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) holds great promise to enhance a soldier's cognitive performances. Although models to predict the tDCS current flow exist, they need to be validated using a high-fidelity head phantom which can mimic both its complex shapes/configurations and the conductivities of various tissues. Such a phantom, however, is currently lacking. In this proposal, AlphaSense, Inc. collaborates with Harvard Medical School to develop a novel 3D- printed head phantom for tDCS model validation. If successful, the merits of the proposed head phantom and its fabrication method include the following: a) High accuracy for tDCS model validation, b) Fully automatic process for tDCS parameter optimization, c) Capable of generating both generic and subject-specific phantoms, d) Excellent long-term stability, and e) Low fabrication cost.BENEFIT:The outcome of this research is coupled to a very clear commercialization path. The proposed head phantom can be used for both military and civilian applications. The most straightforward military application is to valid various tDCS models, based on which effective therapeutic treatment procedures can be obtained. Consequently, the cognitive performances and learning skills of soldiers and military personnel can be substantially improved to enable mission success. In addition to the cognitive performance enhancement, the tDCS model may also help the researchers to identify therapeutic treatment solutions for the veteran and active-duty solider depression issues. For civilian applications, the proposed phantom can also be used by medical researchers to identify optimum tDCS procedures to treat various medical conditions, including brain injuries, strokes, memory loss, and depression. It should be noted that the proposed 3D printing method is by no means limited to fabricate the phantoms for the tDCS model validation. If successful, it also provides a generic solution to fabricate a wide variety of medical phantoms, including brain, breast and heart phantoms, etc. for various training and surgical treatment planning applications. The potential market is huge for the above-mentioned medical phantoms.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2014

In this proposal, AlphaSense, Inc. details the development of a fully integrated laser ultrasound visualization and laser ablation tool for corrosion identification, removal and cleaning. The key innovations of this proposal include the following: a) Hidden corrosion detections based on direct visualizations of the ultrasound propagation characteristics, b) Corrosion product removal using laser ablation, and c) The implementation of a fully integrated corrosion detection and removal tool. With such innovations, the merits of the proposed corrosion detection and removal tool include the following: a) Fully integrated, compact and portable, b) Capable of detecting hidden corrosions, c) Compatible with complex shapes, configurations and tight space constraints, d) High sensitivity and good spatial resolution, e) High throughput in both corrosion detection and removal, f) Controllable and no collateral damages, and g) Easy and safe to the operators.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 796.67K | Year: 2012

In this SBIR program, AlphaSense, Inc. teamed with the Center for Non-destructive Evaluations at Iowa State University to develop a compact, low cost handheld sensor for non-destructive material case depth verification. In phase I, we have proven the feasibility of using an alternating current potential drop (ACPD) sensor for non-destructive measurements of case depth. Phase II will be focusing on the optimization of the sensor system to improve its performance in terms of sensitivity, measurement accuracy and inspection time. Additionally, we will implement a compact, portable, relatively inexpensive and field testable prototype. Furthermore, we will develop methods to automatically extract the gear alloy type and case depths based on the measurement data.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.96K | Year: 2012

Although biodiesels have been increasingly used in automobiles, trains, commercial aircrafts and heating systems, they are not currently used in the military aircrafts and land vehicles because they typically do not meet the JP-8 performance criteria as specified by MIL-PRF-83133E. Unintentional contaminations by the biodiesels into the jet fuels can introduce adverse effects, including engine operability problems and potential engine flame out. Typical biodiesel is the product of methanol transesterification of plant oil triglycerides, and as such, contains a mixture of many fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). Therefore, in order to detect the contamination by the biodiesels, it is important to monitor the FAME content in the JP-8 fuel. In this proposal, Alphasense Inc. and the University of Tennessee Space Institute detail the development of a handheld, low cost and high throughput sensor for FAMEs detections and quantifications in JP-8 fuel. The proposed sensor will have the following merits: a) Simple, compact, and low cost, b) High sensitivity and selectivity, c) Large measurement dynamic range, d) Long- lasting serviceability, e) Automatic data acquisition and interpretation, and f) Reusable.

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