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Sparks, MD, United States

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.87K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT: To ensure the United States remains safe from the threat of nuclear and radiological attacks requires advanced radiation detection with the ability to quickly and accurately detect illicit nuclear materials including dirty bombs and other dangerous radioisotopes. Existing nuclear radiation systems are still heavily based on technologies developed decades ago. These old technologies have either inadequate performance or require cryogenic cooling. Although research in recent years has led to some newer classes of room temperature semiconductor detectors, none of these newer materials can simultaneously satisfy all three critically important features for a practical, advanced room temperature radiation sensor: high performance, low cost and stable operation. We propose a new class of rugged, portable, low cost and very high performance gamma ray detectors based on mercurous bromide (Hg2Br2) that can potentially act as neutron detectors as well. We are the only company in the country currently capable of growing large crystals of Hg2Br2 and we have demonstrated initial encouraging detector response to both gamma and alpha particle incident radiation. Our goal is to deliver a breakthrough in detector technology that can address the limiting issues of current technologies.; BENEFIT: The objective of our proposed Phase I research is to demonstrate the feasibility of mercurous bromide (Hg2Br2) as a suitable material for a high performance, low cost, energy efficient and robust pager form device with dual gamma-neutron detection. The novel Hg2Br2-based detector has multiple advantages over existing technologies. It has similar gamma detection performance as HgI2 but with long term stability and larger detector volume. Ultimately, the plan is to continue the development where robustness and compactness of design will be top priority and the electronics will be extended to ASIC-based for practical dual gamma-neutron hand-held prototype device development for future manufacturing and commercialization. Hg2Br2-based radiation detectors are currently not available commercially at the present time while the need for a practically deployable alternative material to commercial off-the-shelf room temperature semiconductor materials has been of significant interests from the DOD, DHS, DOE, other Federal Agencies and even private sector such as Medical OEMs and Baggage Scanner OEMs (for TSA, X-Ray CT applications). We therefore will have very competitive advantage to be one of the first to provide a domestic source for this need.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.46K | Year: 2015

We propose a spectrometer that employs a single room temperature semiconductor detector that can perform both gamma and neutron spectroscopy. The proposed detector is based on the novel mercurous halide materials, Hg2X2 (X=I, Cl, Br). The mercurous halides are new wide band-gap semiconductor detector materials that can provide radiation detection with low cost, high performance and long term stability. Despite years of research, no explored room temperature semiconductor detection candidates can satisfy all three features simultaneously. At Brimrose, we have successfully developed the growth procedures for high quality Hg2X2 crystals for long wavelength infrared (LWIR) imaging systems. Recently, we have been able to engineer our growth process toward gamma radiation detection and have demonstrated initial encouraging detector response from Hg2I2 to both gamma and alpha particle incident radiations. The focus will be on the material engineering aspect of the detector material itself (i.e., crystal growth and post growth processing), as well as on the detector fabrication and system design. The proposed mercurous halides-based nuclear instrument can be used onboard NASA's orbiters and landers for space planetology. Specifically, it can be used to determine surface and sub-surface composition of planetary bodies via both gamma spectroscopy and neutron spectroscopy.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Office for Chemical and Biological Defense | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.90K | Year: 2014

We propose an Acousto-Optic Tunable Filter (AOTF) Spectropolarimetric Imaging System for Enhanced Standoff Chemical Detection at Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) wavelengths. This work entails development of suitable LWIR material, design of the LWIR AOTF, and design of the hyperspectral imaging sensor using a focal plane array. Currently, there is no technologically mature, commercially available material at reasonable price for AOTF imaging in the LWIR wavelength range. We have been actively researching suitable materials for LWIR AOTF imaging systems for some time, and we also develop AOTF products commercially. We propose using mercurous halide crystals to fabricate the AOTF. The AOTF component has no moving parts, making it a rugged and reliable device, and it provides polarimetric imaging capabilities. Polarization analysis adds a valuable signature feature to imaging data, allowing a wide variety of targets to be detected with greatly enhanced contrast. The proposed hyperspectral polarimetric imaging system will have discrimination capabilities comparable to existing hyperspectral imaging chemical/biological sensors. The sensor will be able to passively detect small chemical plumes (25 meters or smaller) of a chemical agent such as sarin at relevant concentrations (less than 10 ppmv) at a distance of 5 kilometers or more under ambient conditions.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.86K | Year: 2014

The prevalence of off earth landing missions both proposed and undertaken has been steadily increasing. With the proposal of missions, not only to Mars, but also to comets, asteroids and outer planet moons, the ruggedness and robustness of equipment must meet the challenges of ever harsher environments. As a part of these missions, researchers wish to analyze the materials which make up the surface of these bodies and search for organic material. Brimrose proposes to develop a novel, compact, fast spectropolarimeter that will be capable of operating in the short wave infrared. The analysis of polarized light can help discriminate and classify materials and identify objects of. Measurement of polarization state can also provide various characteristics such as surface properties, shape, shading, and roughness, and can be used to identify unique features that will allow more accurate discrimination between various materials than spectral data alone. Development of space-ready hardware and algorithms for the detection and analysis of polarized light in space based analysis applications is needed to enable high confidence material discrimination. The development of proposed full-scope spectropolarimeter will offer a dramatically improved optical solution for material analysis by performing fast spectral profile acquisition with an additional feature of complete polarization information.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2014

The objective of this proposal is to demonstrate the feasibility of producing light weight and thermally manageable integrated optical systems suitable for airborne and space high power directed energy applications. This project will focus on improving two of the most important parts of a high energy mirror design, the reflective mirror surface, and the multifunctional substrate. Brimrose, in collaboration with Applied Research Laboratory of Penn State University, proposes to develop boron carbide (B4C) and silicon carbide (SiC) based light weight high energy laser mirrors by accomplishing three major tasks: 1) forming thin and fully dense B4C and SiC ceramic bodies with state of the art spark plasma sintering (SPS) techniques and achieving highly reflective mirror surfaces with polishing, 2) fabricating light weight, strong and machinable SiC based substrate materials and 3) developing bonding techniques for joining mirror surface and substrate into integrated optical systems. Evaluation of the properties and performance of these systems will include microstructural characterization, mechanical and thermal analyses, and optical studies. Microstructural characterization will include X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM) imaging and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Mechanical and thermal studied will include stiffness and bending strength tests and thermal shock analysis. Optical evaluation will include reflectance and laser damage threshold determinations. Approved for Public Release 14-MDA-7663 (8 January 14)

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