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On 14 July, at Farnborough International, the Minister of Defence Procurement, Phillip Dunne MP, announced the two SME winners of the phase 2 Persistent Surveillance and Mission Training Innovation Challenges. Close Air Solutions are delighted to have received the award for funding for their Hyper Real Immersion Project. Close Air Solutions now have the funding to develop an innovative technology using Augmented Reality to support the British Military in their training with a potentially ground breaking cost saving solution. Tom Ball, Technical Director and Co-Founder, Close Air Solutions said: We are delighted to have received the award for phase 2 of this competition. The funding and support from CDE will continue enabling us to develop industry-leading technology that has enormous potential to save money and increase the effectiveness of the British armed forces. This technology has already been identified as a potential ‘game changer’ for Defence and we are both honoured and excited to be at the forefront of its development. The association and support of UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC) is providing us with a unique opportunity to support the British Military as well as contribute to UK Exports. CDE (part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) ran the series of Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) themed competitions against which industry and academia submitted their innovative ideas. The first of these competitions was on the subjects of agile and immersive training and persistent surveillance. Organisations successful in these 2 competitions then had the opportunity to bid for further funding to take their ideas forward. CDE, together with the UKDSC, helped to form new relationships and encouraged collaborations that will be useful for future exploitation of the outputs. Jim Pennycook, Head of Operations at CDE says: Putting follow-on funding into the CDE process and working closely with the defence industry through UKDSC means even more opportunity for our bidders and an increased likelihood of exploitation into a defence capability for MOD and UK exports. We had a difficult task to make a selection from the range of quality phase-2 proposals submitted by the phase-1 winners and it’s been great to see the success of these projects. About Close Air Solutions (CAS): Close Air Solutions is a single source for international training and simulation services for all aspects of Close Air Support, Air Land Integration and Joint Fires communities. We design and integrate synthetic training systems and deliver training courses meeting NATO /US accreditation standards. Our flagship product is iCASSTM (immersive Close Air Support Simulator). iCASS is a registered trademark of Close Air Solutions Ltd. www.closeairsolutions.com


News Article | December 7, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Rainbow Seed Fund, an early-stage venture capital fund focused on promising technologies developed at the UK’s largest publicly-funded research facilities and campuses, today announces that the fund have now leveraged more than £200m to work supporting UK’s most ground-breaking and innovative companies. Since the Fund’s inception in 2002, Rainbow Seed Fund has been investing in the earliest and riskiest stages to create promising technology companies that stem out of engineering and high-quality science research. The Fund has made a significant contribution to the commercialisation of more than 30 high quality science technology start-up companies in sectors such as health, environmental services, international development and security. Rainbow’s portfolio showcases a number of ‘world’s firsts’ ambitions and includes two companies named by the World Economic Forum as ‘Technology Pioneers’ (see below list). Rainbow Seed Fund partners are leading UK public sector research establishments led by STFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council), BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council), NERC and Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory). The fund is independently managed by Midven. “Securing the first round of finance is notoriously hard for early-stage companies, as is investor willingness to continue to back the most promising companies in further funding rounds,” said Dr Andrew Muir, Rainbow Seed Fund Investment Director. “Rainbow aims to lower this establishment phase hurdle and drive companies towards commercialisation and sustainability, offering strategic support and leveraging private capital to help businesses stand on their own. Our differentiating approach is that we don’t just invest in established teams or developed companies. With a risk appetite that is higher than pure private funds, we get involved at the earliest stages and continue to grow with them as ‘patient capital’ investors.” Rainbow Seed Fund Portfolio: World’s Firsts Two of Rainbow’s portfolio companies, Tokamak Energy and Synthace, have been named World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers, joining the ranks of the world’s most innovative companies. By offering backing at an early stage, Rainbow has a unique opportunity to support the UK’s most promising scientists and help turn their ideas into market-leading companies. A number of Rainbow Seed Fund portfolio companies are being recognised for their ‘world’s first ambitions,’ including: MANUFACTURING / ENGINEERING -- Cobalt Light Systems, a spin-out from Rainbow partner STFC, manufactures and sells innovative instruments and technologies for non-invasive, rapid analysis of materials. This technology has applications in airport security to quickly screen liquid contents like baby’s milk; pharmaceutical materials analysis of capsules, tablets, gels or solutions; and handheld detection devices to analyse hazardous materials, explosives and narcotics. Cobalt won the prestigious MacRobert Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014. -- Last year, Tokamak Energy garnered a 2015 Technology Pioneer award to accelerate the development of cost-effective, clean energy from fusion within the next 10 years. Tokamak aims to accelerate the development of fusion energy by combining two emerging technologies – spherical tokamaks and high-temperature superconductors. MEDICAL / BIOTECH -- Crescendo Biologics is a biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing potent, highly differentiated Humabody® therapeutics in Oncology. In October 2016, Crescendo signed a deal with Takeda on using its Humabody® technology platform to generate tumour targeting drug conjugates and immuno-oncology therapeutics. The deal has a headline value of up to $790m. -- University College London spin-out Synthace, which provides next generation software and processes to exponentially improve productivity in bioscience, was named as the only UK entrant on the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer 2016 list. Synthace is developing Antha to automate biological research. Antha brings an engineering approach to biology, making experiments far more efficient, connecting and automating complex equipment and enabling better engineer biology for health, food, energy and manufacturing. The company, is already serving customers across the pharmaceutical, agriscience and industrial biotechnology industries. SOFTWARE / HARDWARE -- Formed in February 2011, Spectral Edge is a UEA spin-out from the same stable as the technology behind Apple’s HDR image processing. Spectral Edge technology enhances images and video by using information outside the normal visible spectrum or applying transformations to that within it. Applications range from medical imaging and surveillance all the way to consumer applications such as enhancing camera images and TV pictures. ENVIRONMENTAL -- International GeoScience Services (IGS), a spin-out from the British Geological Survey, has developed IGS Xplore, a new and innovative mineral prospectivity software system designed for de-risking early-stage decision making in mineral exploration. The software system uses novel, non-GIS based, semantically-driven technology to generate early-stage, value-added prospectivity maps for regions, countries or geological terranes where base geodata exists. IGS Xplore readily identifies early-stage exploration targets, quickly and cost-effectively, for an extensive range of commodities in a wide variety of regional geological environments. -- A spin-out from STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxsensis is pioneering a “new breed” of highly accurate, highly stable optical sensors. Using light to measure heat, temperature and pressure, based upon proprietary intellectual property rights, Oxsensis’ dynamic sensors can be used in extreme environments — like those created by jet engines and power stations — where traditional sensors run out of steam. Better sensors allow power savings, reduced emissions and improved asset risk management. Oxsensis works with blue-chip partner in global markets of national significance — aerospace, power generation, space, nuclear, and oil and gas. SPACE -- Oxford Space Systems (OSS) has developed a new generation of deployable global satellite space structures that are lighter, less complex and lower cost than those in current commercial demand. In September 2016, OSS set a space industry record going from company formation to material design through product design, test and launch of its deployable boom on a cubesat (a type of miniaturized satellite for space research) in under 30 months. OSS is using the mission as a flight opportunity to validate a number of predictions made for its proprietary flexible composite material in the demanding environment of low-earth orbit. Rainbow Seed Fund Milestones -- Helped to create more than 30 high technology start-up companies across sectors such as health, environmental services, international development and security. -- Leveraged more than £200 million of private investment into their portfolio companies. This represents a ratio of over £20 for every £1 invested from Rainbow. -- Over and above co-investment, Rainbow has helped generate wider economic impact in the form of salaries, taxes and economic activity in suppliers. Known as “Gross Value Add” (GVA), this measurement, at £5 of GVA for every £1 invested by Rainbow, shows the benefit of early stage investment and is forecasted to grow substantially as the companies mature and grow. -- The Fund bolsters the UK’s exports – an overwhelming majority of sales in Rainbow companies are overseas and total sales have already reached over £70m. -- Rainbow has helped to create 240+ high value technology-related jobs, a figure that is rising rapidly as the companies in Rainbow’s portfolio accelerate and transition from research into production and sales. -- The Fund has already had four successful exits and has recycled the funds into new investments. About Rainbow Seed Fund The Rainbow Seed Fund is an early-stage venture capital fund dedicated to kick-starting technology companies from great science. We focus on companies based on research conducted in publicly-funded laboratories, located on the Research Councils’ science and technology campuses or working in fields of strategic interest to the UK (such as synthetic biology). The Fund is backed by nine UK publicly-funded research organisations including STFC, BBSRC, Dstl and NERC and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The Fund, whose portfolio comprises more than 30 companies, holds investments in some of the UK’s most innovative companies in areas as diverse as novel antibiotics, research into Alzheimer’s disease, “green” chemicals and airport security. The Fund has leveraged more than £200 million of private investment from just under £9 million of its own investment and helped create many high-value technology jobs. The Rainbow Seed Fund is managed by Midven, an established venture capital firm with a successful track record of investing in small and medium-sized enterprises. For more information, please visit http://www.rainbowseedfund.com.


News Article | September 13, 2016
Site: phys.org

In a paper published in Nature Communications, they demonstrate how they synthesised nanometre-sized cage molecules that can be used to transport charge in proton exchange membrane (PEM) applications. Proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are considered to be a promising technology for clean and efficient power generation in the twenty-first century. PEMFCs contain proton exchange membrane (PEM), which carries positively-charged protons from the positive electrode of the cell to the negative one. Most PEMs are hydrated and the charge is transferred through networks of water inside the membrane. To design better PEM materials, more needs to be known about how the structure of the membrane enables protons to move easily through it. However, many PEMs are made of amorphous polymers, so it is difficult to study how protons are conducted because the precise structure is not known. Scientists from the University's Department of Chemistry synthesised molecules that enclose an internal cavity, forming a porous organic cage into which other smaller molecules can be loaded, such as water or carbon dioxide. When the cages form solid materials, they can arrange to form channels in which the small 'guest' molecules can travel from one cage to another. The material forms crystals in which the arrangement of cages is very regular. This allowed the researchers to build an unambiguous description of the structure using crystallography, a technique that allows the positions of atoms to be located. The molecules are also soluble in common solvents, which means they could be combined with other materials and fabricated into membranes. They measured the protonic conductivity of these porous organic cages after loading the channels with water, to assess their viability as PEM materials. The cages exhibited proton conductivities of up to 10-3 S cm1, which is comparable to some of the best porous framework materials in the literature. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Center for Neutron Research at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), they used a combination of experimental measurements and computer simulations to build a rich picture of how protons are conducted by the cage molecules. Two distinctive features of the proton conduction in organic cage crystals were highlighted as design principles for future PEM materials. First, the cages are arranged so that the channels extend in three dimensions. This means that the movement of the protons is not limited to a particular direction, as in the case of many porous materials tested so far. Second, the cages direct the movement of the water molecules, which means that protons can be passed between them quickly. Also, the cages are flexible enough to allow the water to reorganize, which is also important when protons are transported from one water molecule to the next over longer distances. Dr Ming Liu who led the experimental work, said: "In addition to introducing a new class of proton conductors, this study highlights design principles that might be extended to future materials. "For example, the 'soft confinement' that we observe in these hydrated solids suggests new anhydrous proton conductors where a porous cage host positions and modulates the protonic conductivity of guest molecules other than water. This would facilitate the development of high temperature PEMFCs, as water loss would no longer be a consideration." Liverpool Chemist, Dr Sam Chong, added: "The work also gives fundamental insight into proton diffusion, which is widely important in biology." Dr Chong has recently been appointed as a lecturer in the University's Materials Innovation Factory (MIF). Due to open in 2017, the £68M MIF is set to revolutionise materials chemistry research and development through facilitating the discovery of new materials which have the potential to save energy and natural resources, improve health or transform a variety of manufacturing processes. The paper 'Three-dimensional Protonic Conductivity in Porous Organic Cage Solids' is published in Nature Communications. Explore further: New technique developed to separate complex molecular mixtures More information: Ming Liu et al, Three-dimensional protonic conductivity in porous organic cage solids, Nature Communications (2016). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12750


News Article | September 19, 2016
Site: www.materialstoday.com

Scientists at the University of Liverpool in the UK have made an important breakthrough that could lead to the design of better fuel cell materials. In a paper published in Nature Communications, they describe their synthesis of nanometer-sized cage molecules that can be used to transport charge in proton exchange membranes. Proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are considered to be a promising technology for clean and efficient power generation in the 21st century. PEMFCs contain a component called a proton exchange membrane (PEM), which carries positively-charged protons from the positive electrode of the cell to the negative one, while electrons travel round an external circuit to generate a current. Most PEMs are hydrated and the protons are transferred through networks of water inside the membrane. To design better PEM materials, more needs to be known about how the structure of the membrane allows protons to move easily through it. However, many PEMs consist of amorphous polymers that don’t have a regular structure, making it difficult to study how protons are conducted through them. As an alternative approach, scientists from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Chemistry synthesized molecules that enclose an internal cavity, forming a porous organic cage into which other smaller molecules can be loaded, such as water or carbon dioxide. When these cages come together, they form channels in which the small ‘guest’ molecules can travel from one cage to another. The end result is a crystalline material in which the arrangement of the cages is very regular. This allowed the researchers to build an unambiguous description of the structure using crystallography, a technique that allows the positions of atoms to be located. The molecules are also soluble in common solvents, which means they could be combined with other materials and fabricated into membranes. The scientists measured the protonic conductivity of these porous organic cages after loading the channels with water, to assess their viability as PEM materials. The cages exhibited proton conductivities of up to 10-3S/cm, comparable to some of the best porous framework materials in the literature. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in the UK and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), they used a combination of experimental measurements and computer simulations to build a rich picture of how protons are conducted by the cage molecules. Two distinctive features of proton conduction in these organic cage crystals were highlighted as design principles for future PEM materials. First, the cages are arranged so that the channels extend in three dimensions. This means that the movement of the protons is not limited to a particular direction, as is the case with many porous materials tested so far. Second, the cages direct the movement of the water molecules, which means that protons can be passed between them quickly. Also, the cages are flexible enough to allow the water to reorganize, which is important when protons are transported from one water molecule to the next over longer distances. “In addition to introducing a new class of proton conductors, this study highlights design principles that might be extended to future materials,” said Ming Liu from the University of Liverpool, who led the experimental work. “For example, the ‘soft confinement’ that we observe in these hydrated solids suggests new anhydrous proton conductors where a porous cage host positions and modulates the protonic conductivity of guest molecules other than water. This would facilitate the development of high temperature PEMFCs, as water loss would no longer be a consideration.” “The work also gives fundamental insight into proton diffusion, which is widely important in biology,” added Sam Chong, also from the University of Liverpool. Chong has recently been appointed as a lecturer in the university’s Materials Innovation Factory (MIF). Due to open in 2017, the £68M facility will revolutionize materials chemistry research and development through facilitating the discovery of new materials that have the potential to save energy and natural resources, improve health or transform a variety of manufacturing processes. This story is adapted from material from the University of Liverpool, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.


A team of scientists, including experts from the UK Ministry of Defence's Porton Down labs, have devised a sensor that can detect even the smallest changes in gravity. The quantum gravity detector can lead to the creation of scanners that can see through walls and detect underground objects. The gravity sensor makes use of lasers to freeze atoms in place, then measures and analyzes how the particles are affected by the gravitational pull and mass of surrounding objects. Using the data derived from the device, scientists can come up with a 3D map that shows the varying densities of objects in the area at which the sensor is directed. The gravity sensor, which was featured on BBC's "Horizon" documentary series on March 23, can also lead to future innovations that are immune to radar detection, jamming or any other sort of interference. Neil Stansfield, of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory under the Ministry of Defence, explains that the device's resistance to jamming or spoofing is due to its not sending out anything that can be interfered with in the first place. Stansfield adds that until recently, many believed there would be no practical uses for the research. "I think until about five years ago, this was seen as laboratory stuff and it will be 20 or 30 years before we can harness this. My view is that it's much closer," he says. Stansfield remarks that the quantum gravity detector's ability to scan fluctuations in gravity and density gives it the potential to see through objects such as walls. Being able to see underground is an obvious use, he says. "From a national security perspective, the potential is obvious if you can see caves and tunnels,” Stansfield says, adding that the technology can be also be used by civilians. Stansfield notes that half of road development projects are in the wrong place because workers do not know where pipes are buried. The gravity sensor would be able to help workers see exactly where the pipes are underground. The British military's research on controlling gravitational activity has been going on for decades. In the mid-1990s, defense manufacturer BAE Systems began a project that was given the name "Greenglow." The project explored whether elements of science fiction can be turned into reality, such as using antigravity to levitate aircraft and other objects.


News Article | March 10, 2016
Site: phys.org

By focusing on explosives hidden in clay soils, the University of Sheffield project – funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – has addressed a vital gap in knowledge about how buried explosives interact with their surrounding environment. This is a key factor in determining the pattern and extent of the pressure produced by an explosion. Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: "British scientific breakthroughs have saved the lives of millions and we will continue to invest in our scientists as they conduct such game-changing research. The potential for this research to provide better protection for British soldiers and humanitarian workers who risk their lives every day, underscores precisely why we continue to support UK science." The project was part of a wider ongoing initiative – the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's (Dstl's) programme to understand the effects of IEDs and land mines on armoured vehicles. As well as helping to inform future designs of armoured vehicles, the data produced by the project will aid risk assessment and route planning for operations in current and future combat zones. Dr Sam Clarke, who led the EPSRC-funded project, says: "Detonations of explosives in shallow soils are extremely complex events that involve the interaction of the shock waves with the surrounding soil, air and water. The understanding we've generated about how clay soils affect the process is a key piece in the jigsaw, as it complements the extensive knowledge that's already been built up about explosions in sandy and gravelly soils, which are much less cohesive than clay soils." Using the University of Sheffield's unique Explosives Arena, Dr Clarke and his team carried out around 250 test explosions using different soil samples and made 17 different pressure measurements during each test. The results were backed up and verified by numerical modelling developed and applied as part of an EPSRC CASE (Collaborative Award in Science and Engineering) Studentship. The research has revealed how the blast produced by a landmine or IED would interact, for instance, with anti-mine body armour or an armoured plate fixed underneath a troop transport vehicle. Hundreds of UK service personnel have been killed or injured by IEDs in recent years, while landmines in former warzones worldwide continue to cause thousands of deaths every year. In the face of dangers like these, there is a constant drive to keep improving the capabilities of vehicle armour, personal armour and protective footwear, and this can be aided by a clearer understanding about how explosions actually behave. Dr Clarke comments: "The new data we've generated about the distribution of blast loading in clay soils will feed directly into Dstl's world-class work harnessing the latest science and technology to help protect UK troops and ensure they can operate even more effectively in future."


News Article | September 26, 2016
Site: www.gizmag.com

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has unveiled a new wearable sensor technology designed to keep track of squaddies and prevent friendly fire incidents. Under development by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the Dismounted Close Combat Sensors (DCCS) system will allow commanders to track troops without GPS, while providing better situational awareness. GPS navigation is one of those technologies that has revolutionized warfare with its ability to locate an object to within a meter. Unfortunately, the system is only really useful in open country with a clear view of the sky to receive satellite signals. This means that soldiers patrolling built up areas, searching buildings, or entering tunnels are often at a sudden disadvantage. In addition, GPS signals can be spoofed or jammed, so even ideal conditions are no guarantee of reliability. Dstl, in partnership with Roke Manor Research, QinetiQ, and Systems Engineering and Assessment, sees DCCS as a solution to not only the GPS problem, but as a system to detect threats, improve targeting capabilities, give commanders more accurate situational awareness, and better share information with troops. When we contacted the MoD, a spokesman said that DCCS has already gone through a number of development iterations to produce sensor algorithms necessary for the system to operate. The reason for this is that the engineers found that no single sensor could do the job, so they opted for a suite of different sensors that are integrated by a fusion algorithm to make the system more reliable over a wide variety of conditions. DCCS is a modular, multiple open-source system that conforms to the MoD's Generic Soldier Architecture used to standardize military equipment requirements. It's based on a core of GPS, Inertial Navigation System (INS), and video-tracking sensors that include lasers, dual-antenna GPS, a new thermal sight, shortwave infrared band for targeting, and integrated magnetic sensors. To keep costs down and speed development, off the shelf components are used whenever possible. The MoD says that the biggest challenge was developing the fusion methodology, so that the system operates in real-time and is a wearable size. For navigation, DCCS uses INS sensors that work the same way as the accelerometers and compass in a smartphone to calculate the soldier's position based on speed and bearings from the last GPS fix. This is made more precise and accurate by also using visual cues, such as doors, windows, and signs from a helmet camera, which allows the system to calculate the individual's position even in three dimensions. By combining data from GPS, cameras, inertial sensors, and magnetic sensors mounted on a soldier's weapon, commanders can not only see where someone is, but where their weapon is pointing. If troops are inadvertently targeting friendly forces, the commander can intervene before a tragedy occurs. Targeting with DCCS uses a combination of camera, lasers and orientation sensors mounted on the soldier's personal weapon. This highlights targets, such as troops, unmanned aerial vehicles, and aircraft, as well as civilians and the wounded, and can be seen by others equipped with the proper sensors. The spokesman says this method is a quicker and easier way to convey information than verbal instructions. In addition to GPS, INS, and video tracking, the targeting system also uses acoustic sensors that help the system automatically identify where gunfire is coming from and laser rangefinders to pinpoint locations even before the soldier is aware of them. Commanders can use information from many soldiers to form an accurate threat assessment and keep the troops informed as to how to deal with them. The Mod sees DCCS as having a wide range of non-military applications, such as monitoring autonomous cars, emergency services inside buildings, or mine rescue workers underground. Though miniaturization and a number of issues still need to be addressed, DCCS is scheduled to see service sometime in the next decade. "We independently considered 252 fledgling technologies from across industry, academia, and beyond, before developing, distilling, and fusing them to create the concept of an integrated wearable sensor system, which we then built and trialled," says Roke's lead engineer on the DCCS project, Mark Coleman. "In addition to providing military advantage, we've also seen how DCCS lends itself as a testing platform to bring technology to the frontline faster." Source:


iTrinegy, a leading provider of networked application risk management solutions, is pleased to announce that it has been approved to join the Qinetiq-led Sirius Consortium which is tasked by the United Kingdom MoD's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) with developing solutions to operational requirements identified under the Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance - Secure Information Infrastructure and Services (CSIIS) Research Consortium. The research consortium, led by QinetiQ, consists of a consortium (Team Sirius) of over 40 organisations including leading UK Defence industry prime contractors, subject matter experts, non-defence companies and academia. Team Sirius brings together an expert team with the right balance of members, who intend working collaboratively together and closely with Dstl to fulfil MoD's current and future research requirements in the C4ISR arena. Team Sirius conducts innovative concept and systems development research across a number of technical disciplines/strands including Networks, Services, Communications, Information Assurance, Knowledge Management, Information Management and Information Exploitation. "iTrinegy has a proven track record of providing the military and major prime contractors, not just here in the UK, but across the globe, with the expertise and technologies that enables them to test and validate the performance of systems which are reliant on the communication of data over networks to function," explains Frank Puranik, iTrinegy's Product Director. "We are proud to contribute this same expertise to the challenges that Team Sirius face in developing solutions for the CSIIS research programme." iTrinegy specializes in the development of virtual test networks which enable users to recreate a wide range of networks and data links such as satcomms, wireless & radio and ad-hoc networks as well as creating conditions such as jamming & fade in order to understand, prior to actual deployment, how well systems will perform in potentially hostile environments. "This is great news, as iTrinegy's capabilities will enhance those of Team Sirius, ensuring MoD has access to the best S&T possible," said Helen Carlton AI2 Programme Manager, Dstl. "We are pleased to bring iTrinegy on board this major Research Consortium providing important communications, information and security research for Dstl and MoD" commented Sirius Steering Group Chair, Paul Wells, Director of Communications Navigation and ISR for QinetiQ. iTrinegy develops products that enable organizations to address the whole Networked Application Development and Deployment Lifecycle ™ from initial design & development, through testing, QA, to production rollout and on-going performance monitoring. Leading prime defence contractors and military organizations deploying iTrinegy technology including Agency for Defense Development (S. Korea), Australian Department of Defence, Boeing, Land Systems Reference Centre, Lockheed Martin, ManTech International, Missile Defense Agency, Northrop Grumman, QinetiQ, Raytheon, and Rheinmetall Defence. iTrinegy has offices in the UK and USA together with a network of specialist resellers. For more information, please visit www.itrinegy.com For more information contact: Phil Bull, Marketing Manager, iTrinegy Tel: +44(0)1799-252-200 Mob: +44(0)7909-990617 http://www.itrinegy.com US Telephone Number: +1-888-448-4366 ext 215


« DOE BETO hosting alternative aviation fuel workshop | Main | ExxonMobil and Princeton select five energy research projects; including batteries and solar » Proton conduction is key to devices such as proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs); the performance-limiting component in PEMFCs is often the proton exchange membrane (PEM). In the search for more effective PEMs, reseachers have looked to porous solids such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) or covalent organic frameworks. With these, the proton conduction properties can be fine-tuned by controlling crystallinity, porosity and chemical functionality. To maximize proton conduction, three-dimensional conduction pathways are preferred over one-dimensional pathways, which prevent conduction in two dimensions. Researchers led by a team at the University of Liverpool (UK) now report in an open-access paper in the journal Nature Communications that they have developed crystalline porous molecular solids where the proton transport occurs in 3D pathway by virtue of the native channel structure and topology. The development could lead to the design of more effective fuel cell materials, including high-temperature PEMFCs. In principle, the rational design of architecture in crystalline porous molecules allows us to tune proton conductivity and improve our understanding of proton conduction mechanisms, as relevant to both materials science and biology. However, there are few examples of proton conduction in porous organic molecular solids. … One limitation of proton conduction in MOFs is the tendency for directional proton transport, which in turn arises from the low-dimension pore structures in most frameworks tested2. Even in the few 3D proton-conducting MOFs that are known, the protons were found to be transported in 1D channels in most cases. 3D proton transport is more favourable for application in PEMs, and hence there have been attempts to enhance proton mobility in MOFs by introducing defects or by decreasing the crystallinity. Here we present an alternative strategy, which is to develop crystalline porous molecular solids where the proton transport occurs in 3D pathway by virtue of the native channel structure and topology. We demonstrate this concept for a range of crystalline porous organic cages. For a neutral imine cage, CC3, the proton conductivity is relatively low under humid conditions, despite the hydrated 3D diamondoid pore network in the material. However, when a related amine cage, RCC1 was transformed into its crystalline hydrated salt (H RCC1)12+·12Cl−·4(H O), the proton conduction was improved by a factor of over 150. Indeed, the proton conductivity of 1 is comparable to pelletized proton-conducting MOFs. This was rationalized using both computer simulations and quasi-elastic neutron scattering (QENS) to elucidate the proton transport mechanism. We also explain the influence of the counter anions in the protonated cage salts, which act to ‘gate’ the proton conduction. The researchers synthesized molecules that enclose an internal cavity, forming a porous organic cage into which other smaller molecules can be loaded, such as water or carbon dioxide. When the cages form solid materials, they can arrange to form channels in which the small guest molecules can travel from one cage to another. The material forms crystals in which the arrangement of cages is very regular. This allowed the researchers to build an unambiguous description of the structure using crystallography. The molecules are also soluble in common solvents, which means they could be combined with other materials and fabricated into membranes (Nafion, for example). The Liverpool researchers measured the protonic conductivity of these porous organic cages after loading the channels with water, to assess their viability as PEM materials. The cages exhibited proton conductivities of up to 10-3 S cm-1, which is comparable to some of the best porous framework materials in the literature. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Center for Neutron Research at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), they used a combination of experimental measurements and computer simulations to build a rich picture of how protons are conducted by the cage molecules. Two distinctive features of the proton conduction in organic cage crystals were highlighted as design principles for future PEM materials. First, the cages are arranged so that the channels extend in three dimensions. This means that the movement of the protons is not limited to a particular direction, as in the case of many porous materials tested so far. Second, the cages direct the movement of the water molecules, which means that protons can be passed between them quickly. Also, the cages are flexible enough to allow the water to reorganize, which is also important when protons are transported from one water molecule to the next over longer distances.


News Article | January 6, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

The UK Ministry of Defence is building a new laser prototype that could serve as a weapon. The government agency has awarded a £30 million ($36.9 million) military contract to UK Dragonfire to build a prototype of a laser weapon that makes use of "directed energy" technology. The winning contractor, UK Dragonfire, is composed of companies such as MBDA, Qinetiq, Leonardo-Finmeccanica GKN, Arke, BAE Systems and Marshall ADG. The goal of the project, according to the Ministry of Defence, is to determine if "directed energy" technology would benefit the armed forces. It is expected that the laser prototype will be rolled out across the armed forces by 2019. In military weaponry, directed energy technology comes in the form of lasers, high-powered microwaves, and particle beams, which can be used in ground, air, sea, and space warfare. Weapons created using this technology can be used to destroy drones, aircraft, missiles, mortars, and roadside bombs. Roadside bombs have caused a huge loss of lives for countries going through civil wars, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. This laser-powered system can find and track targets in various range and various weather conditions over land and water, and is precise enough to create a safe and effective engagement. Peter Cooper, a representative from UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) said that the project will allow the government to understand the potential of the technology and could "provide a more effective response to the emerging threats that could be faced by UK armed forces." A spokesperson from the Ministry of Defence said that the decision to invest in advanced weaponry is not to counter an imminent threat but rather to assess whether the technology would prove useful to the armed forces. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon also said that the $36.9 million contract is part of an initiative to transform the department: "The UK has long enjoyed a reputation as a world leader in innovation. Our new Innovation Initiative will transform Defence culture to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve." Sec. Fallon further adds that "with a rising Defence budget, and a £178 billion equipment plan, our commitment to collaboration will deliver a safer and more prosperous Britain." The Dragonfire system could put the UK at the forefront of laser weapon development and is expected to be ready for trials by 2019. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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