Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.97K | Year: 2016
The gas sensor in the PLSS of the ISS EMU will meet its projected life in 2020, and NASA is planning to replace it. At present, only high TRL devices based on infrared absorption are candidate replacements, because of their proven long-term stability, despite their size and power consumption and failures in the presence of liquid water. No current compact sensor has the tolerance for liquid water that is specifically required for a Portable Life Support Systems (PLSS), and NASA is investigating alternative technologies for the Advanced EMU under development. Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) will develop a luminescence-based optical sensor probe to monitor carbon dioxide, oxygen, and humidity, and selected trace contaminants. Our monitor will incorporate robust CO2, O2, and H2O partial pressure sensors interrogated with a compact, low-power optoelectronic unit. The sensors not only will tolerate liquid water but will actually operate while wet, and can be remotely connected to electronic circuitry by an optical fiber cable immune to electromagnetic interference. For space systems, these miniature sensor elements with remote optoelectronics give unmatched design flexibility for measurements in highly constrained volume systems such as the space suit. In prior projects IOS has demonstrated a CO2 sensor capable of operating while wet that also met PLSS environmental and analytical requirements. In Phase I, a new generation of CO2 sensors was developed to advance this sensor technology and fully meet all NASA requirements, including sensor life. In Phase II IOS will develop a novel sensor system with unique capabilities for inspired gas monitoring, a unique tool for NASA space suit development. The proposed effort could lead to an alternative to infrared absorption-based devices for space missions. IOS has established collaboration with relevant primes for NASA and the aeronautics and defense industry for technology commercialization.
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 513.79K | Year: 2016
Project Summary Neonatal Intensive Care Units NICUs admit babies every year in the U S The monitoring of arterial blood gases is essential for managing any sick infant but especially important in vulnerable extremely premature infants for whom even a minimal delay in appropriate interventions can be the difference between life and death Intermittent monitoring of blood gases as is traditional provides only a spot check of physio pathological status the results are often delayed from the actual event triggering blood gas analysis and the procedure besides predisposing to iatrogenic infections in itself is painful and over time can result in significant blood loss Continuous non invasive blood gas monitoring is preferable but current non invasive continuous modalities have significant limitations An accurate precise and intrinsically safe system that exploits routinely performed intravascular catheterization such as umbilical artery catheterization the standard of care for sick neonates to obtain blood gas measurements continuously would be an important advance in monitoring critically ill neonates in NICUs To address this need we are developing an integrated fiber optic sensor umbilical ISUM catheter for blood gas monitoring in neonates The ISUM catheter will fill the technological gap in continuous blood analysis by addressing the deficiencies shown in andquot classicalandquot intravascular sensor probes and will take advantage of the fact that most critically sick newborns in NICUs receive at least one intravascular catheter often an umbilical arterial catheter The sensor and the catheter are designed as an integrated unit for this specific application and have the following advantages over previously described intravascular probes novel large area gas sensors eliminating probe placement or movement artifacts dual O sensor and data fusion eliminating andquot wall effect andquot and improving reliability and ready to use sensors with little or no delay in data acquisition and reduced cost since highly repeatable sensor elements can be produced in batches of hundreds In Phase I the first ISUM catheters were designed fabricated and tested in animal models incorporating sensors for both pO and pCO Excellent correlation between sensor readings and the andquot gold standardandquot technique for blood gas analysis was observed None of the erroneous readings associated with prior intravascular devices were observed which highlights the potential of the novel sensors for use in both infants and adults and the safety of the new catheter was demonstrated In the proposed Phase II work additional sensors will be integrated and advanced catheters will be designed and validated in the laboratory and in neonatal animal models closer to humans which will lead to initial validation in human subjects As soon as the proposed milestones are achieved we will move to commercialize the ISUM catheter by starting the process for an FDA k submission and negotiating with investors for clinical trials and commercialization Project Narrative A vastly improved system for continuously monitoring blood gases of fragile premature infants and newborns fills an important gap in critical care Our integrated fiber optic sensor umbilical catheter which can measure blood oxygen carbon dioxide pH and bicarbonate could become a standard tool for critically sick neonates admitted to NICUs reducing morbidity and mortality
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.98K | Year: 2016
The International Space Station (ISS) requires lightweight, low-power, easy-to-use, accurate, and stable sensor technology for monitoring wastewater content to ensure proper functioning of the ISS Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS). In particular, continuous and unattended pH, Ca2+, and conductivity monitoring in the Urine Processor Assembly (UPA) in use in the ISS Water Recovery System is required. At present, no such sensor technology exists that can satisfy the demanding operational requirements of the ISS and future exploration missions. Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) proposes to develop a luminescence-based optical sensor probe to monitor calcium, conductivity, and pH levels directly in ISS wastewater in real time. Optical sensors are superior to electrochemical ones in terms of robustness, reliability, and maintenance. These advantages are most notable in corrosive aqueous environments. Our monitor will incorporate robust sensor elements, interrogated via a compact, low-power optoelectronic unit. The proposed sensors will be remotely connected to the electronic circuitry by an electromagnetic interference (EMI)-proof optical fiber cable. For space systems control, miniature fiber optic sensors connected to the electronic circuitry by an optical fiber cable allow greater flexibility in placing the sensor system in the ISS, where space is highly valuable. Our flow-through monitor will include optical sensors for calcium and pH sensing based on previous sensor technologies developed at IOS. IOS will also incorporate a miniature conductivity sensor into the sensor probe system. In Phase II we will produce prototypes for integration in a Urine Processor Assembly and conduct extensive testing under simulated environmental conditions, culminating in delivery to NASA of a monitoring system, bringing the monitor to TRL 7.
Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2016
To ensure that livestock housing environments meet air-quality requirements without over-ventilation, which burdens growers with unnecessarily high energy costs, Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) is developing an optical-based ammonia sensor module for enclosed livestock housing air monitoring (Air-Sense). The proposed platform, building on our prior successful sensor development, will cost-effectively match ventilation with ammonia levels. This work will also contribute to a stronger understanding of livestock housing environments that will enable the development of additional gas sensing capabilities.
Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.94K | Year: 2016
Subsurface agricultural drainage can greatly increase agricultural productivity in the midwestern United States, but in some cases pollutants move through these systems. One specific water quality concern is nitrate, a form of nitrogen that moves readily through the soil and is often present in high amounts in drainage waters. The water quality of our streams, rivers, and lakes can be degraded by nitrate in tile drainage. Moreover, because many streams and rivers in this region lead to the Mississippi River, nitrate in midwestern agricultural drainage also contributes to the hypoxic zone (or Dead Zone) in the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, it is critical to have networks of widely distributed nitrate sensors with real-time reporting capabilities to monitor nitrate levels in many locations, so that we can make better decisions about drainage water management and treatment.Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) is planning to develop a low-cost nitrate monitoring system that is self-powered, rapidly deployable, and wireless for continuous water monitoring. In Phase I, a nitrate sensor will be fabricated and its sensitivity, selectivity, and stability will be characterized.
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.99K | Year: 2016
The stainless steel canister inside a dry cask storage system (DCSS) is at risk for chlorine-induced stress corrosion cracking (SCC), especially near welds and at storage sites exposed to high humidity. It is highly desirable to have a viable technique for in-situ nondestructive evaluation of SCC and to correlate the crack characteristics with models for crack initiation and growth. Statement of how this problem is being addressed. We propose to perform nondestructive evaluation of realistic test samples using laser ultrasonics testing. Our test results will be referenced to models of corrosion development. Our laser-based inspection technique requires no wiring or electronic circuits within the interior of the cask. The measurement head is fiber-delivered and contains only optical components that can be designed to resist radiation damage. What is to be done in Phase I? The major technical goal in Phase I is to demonstrate the feasibility of measuring the length and depth of individual stress corrosion cracks in realistic test samples. Additional tasks will relate crack properties to corrosion models and will develop a strategy for overcoming technical and integration challenges associated with implementing our technique in dry cask storage systems. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The safe storage of spent fuel is of great importance for the nuclear power industry and is a priority for insuring public safety. Our approach will be a significant advance in insuring the integrity of stored nuclear fuel containers. Our technique can also be adapted for the inspection of piping and other components used for nuclear power generation. Key Words: laser ultrasonics, stress corrosion cracks, dry cask storage systems
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.98K | Year: 2016
As novel building envelopes are implemented to reduce energy use, indoor air quality can be compromised. Humidity sensing must be part of any advanced indoor air quality system, but as stated in the DOE solicitation, "existing humidity sensors do not maintain accuracy over extended periods of time." Therefore, there is a need for a humidity sensing technology with long-term stability and costs competitive with current sensor products. Statement of how this problem is being addressed. Luminescence-based optical sensors for relative humidity are proposed, featuring unprecedented long-term stability, extremely high resistance to airborne contaminants, and no water retention, at a cost similar to those of commercially available sensors. Two key innovations will be combined: a passive material doped with a luminescent dye for enhanced stability, and implementation of a family of circuits that process analog signals on low-cost 100% digital components. What is to be done in Phase I? Phase I will focus on demonstrating the novel sensor material and in particular its superior stability in comparison with current humidity sensor devices, leaving the optimization of other parameters for Phase II. To evaluate long-term stability in the Phase I, we will conduct highly accelerated life testing studies. Demonstrating the "fabricability" of the novel material will be part of Phase I. Once the sensor material has been demonstrated, we will establish the basis for a low cost electronic circuit designed for the particular sensor material selected. Commercial applications and other benefits. Humidity measurement finds broad use in many industries. Humidity sensing is applied to process controls, food storage and refrigeration, quality control, homebuilding, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), medical, healthcare, automotive, and numerous other fields. Key words. energy, building, luminescent, optical sensor Summary for Members of Congress. As novel buildings are designed to reduce energy use, indoor air quality may be compromised but, as per the solicitation, "existing humidity sensors do not maintain accuracy over extended periods..." The proposed optical sensors for relative humidity will have unprecedented long-term stability at costs comparable to those of existing sensors.
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2015
Advances in spacesuits are required, to support the ISS and future human exploration. Spacesuit development and ground-based testing require sensing and analytical instrumentation for characterizing and validating prototypes. While miniature thermosensors measure reliably at low cost, and can be incorporated all around spacesuit prototypes, incorporating gas sensors at locations of interest inside a spacesuit has been a significant challenge in particular for human subject tests because of the size and cost of available instrumentation. The sensor probes and cables must not restrict the suit or human subjects' mobility, and must not disturb the gas flow. Intelligent Optical System is developing luminescence-based sensing patches for non-intrusive monitoring of critical life support gas constituents and potential trace contaminants in spacesuits. Flexible sensitive patches inside prototype spacesuits are interrogated via optical fibers, and do not disturb the gas flow or the human subject. This will give suit engineers great flexibility for choosing multiple sensing points, fitting the sensor elements into the spacesuit, and cost effectively relocating the sensor elements as desired. In Phase I, a first demonstrator was validated at Johnson Space Center by comparison with current instrumentation used in the Suited Manikin Test Apparatus. Phase II will produce an advanced system ready for integration into NASA programs, and for commercialization (TRL9).
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.96K | Year: 2015
Pressure sensitive paint (PSP) systems are excellent tools for performing global pressure measurements in aerodynamic testing, especially in wind tunnel studies. The major limitation of PSP for pressure mapping is its dependence on an oxygen-containing flow, since those paints are actually oxygen sensors. Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) is developing a unique coating in which fluorescence quenching can form high resolution images of the true pressure distribution on surfaces in transonic flow in oxygen-free atmospheres. The fluorescence in these unique coatings depends directly on absolute pressure, and oxygen permeation into the coatings is not required. The new coating, however, is completely compatible with the "legacy" (oxygen sensing) visualization equipment used in current transonic test facilities. With this novel pressure sensing technology, coating materials can be used that are not useful for oxygen-based PSPs, and coatings that can meet requirements not achievable with classical paints, like operation at extremely low temperature or in highly contaminated environments. In Phase I, IOS has created the oxygen-insensitive pressure-sensitive coating materials, and applied them to glass and stainless steel test coupons. The fluorescence emission lifetime and intensity of these test samples were measured at varying static pressures under pure nitrogen, showing significant correlation with pressure in the range studied (from 0.05 to 14.7 psi), and excellent repeatability. This sets the stage for Phase II development and delivery of a complete temperature-compensated true ambient pressure sensitive paint system that can be used to characterize flow around structures in hypersonic wind tunnels. At the end of Phase II, the coatings will have been tested at relevant environments (TRL5), and will be available for NASA to begin testing in a high-fidelity laboratory environment (TRL6).
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 230.00K | Year: 2015
Statement of the problem or situation that is being addressed. Complex subsurface systems are substrates for natural, disturbed, and managed terrestrial vegetation systems. Reactive transport models have become popular tools for predicting geochemical and biogeochemical processes in these complex subsurface matrixes, including the vadose zone and groundwater, but their accuracy and predictive power are limited by our capability to collect chemical information from the field. Advanced, in-situ sensing systems for cost-effectively accurate relevant information about nutrients and other chemicals in the soil and saturated zone are needed in order to realize the full capability of these computational tools, and to properly characterize subsurface systems. Statement of how this problem is being addressed. We propose to develop a stand-alone in-situ system for continuous monitoring of carbon and nitrogen compounds in the vadose zone and groundwater. Specifically, this system will collect information in real- time about key geochemical parameters, so that reactive transport models can simulate biogeochemical processes in complex subsurface matrices. The proposed monitoring system will incorporate our unique intrinsic fiber optic sensors, capable of covering large areas, connected to a compact unattended optoelectronic unit capable of reporting spatially averaged measurements of oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrates, and/or Fe2+ and Fe3+, which are key parameters for understanding interactions among gases, water, microbes, and rock soils across spatial scales. The proposed project will be based on our proprietary distributed intrinsic optical sensor technology for monitoring carbon dioxide leaks in carbon capture and storage. The first generation prototype of this sensor has already been validated in the field. What is to be done in Phase I? In Phase I we will fabricate a three-parameter sensor cable to monitor CO2, nitrates, and temperature, and characterize its response to target soil and groundwater properties in the laboratory. Initial field tests will demonstrate the potential of the technology to operate outside a controlled laboratory environment. In Phase II we will construct a complete, compact, autonomous system for long-term deployment and wireless reporting of multiple soil and groundwater properties. After laboratory characterization, the system will be validated in the field by comparison with classical monitoring techniques. Field data from the sensor system and analysis of the biomass at the field site will populate reactive transport models in order to study biological processes and interactions between saturated and unsaturated zones. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits An economical and uncomplicated system for measuring the properties of a soil and its interaction with groundwater over extended areas will directly benefit climate science, and it will also have commercial applications in agriculture and civil engineering. The market for wireless sensors for environmental and agricultural monitoring is expected to approach $3B by 2016, at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 11.2% from 2011 to 2016. Physical sensors are relatively mature holding the largest share with 40%; chemical and mechanical sensors follow second and third, with shares of 37% and 22%, respectively. Key Words nitrate, carbon dioxide, optical fiber, sensor, reactive, transport, groundwater, vadose Summary for Members of Congress: We will develop a system for stand-alone, in-situ, continuous monitoring of carbon and nitrogen compounds in the vadose zone and groundwater over extended areas, which will directly benefit climate science, and will also have commercial applications in agriculture and civil engineering.