Blacksburg, VA, United States
Blacksburg, VA, United States

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Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2015

NanoSonic has developed revolutionary multifunctional, super lightweight, self-healing and radiation shielding carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites as a viable lightweight material for space applications such as primary or secondary structures on NASA vehicles, habitat modules, and pressure vessel structures. While current composites are lightweight, they do not offer reliable methods for damage inspection. These advanced materials offer the ability to self-heal upon impact and allow for micro crack damage inspection via DC or RF measurements. During the Phase I program, this phenomenon was demonstrated on multifunctional smart structural composites consisting of: carbon fiber plies, NanoSonic's Thoraeus Rubber™ Kevlar Lightweight Shieling Veils (LSV), and our conductive self-healing microcapsules. The innovative microcapsules are comprised of a corrosion resistant HybridShield polymer shell, a resin-rich core of self-repairing, room temperature curing polymer, and Al nanoparticles to impart EMI and radiation shielding as well as a conductive pathway between the conductive Thoraeus Rubber veils to monitor both damage and repair via RF measurements. NanoSonic is working with Colorado State University, ILC Dover, and Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company to increase the TRL of this technology from 5-7 during the Phase II program via mechanical, RF, and radiation shielding measurements and space qualification testing.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2016

A Phase II SBIR transition of NanoSonics highly flame resistant HybridSil energy absorbing (EA) trim materials will provide a pivotal funding bridge toward Phase III maturation of this very promising, empirically validated vehicle occupant protection technology. NanoSonics HybridSil trim materials will provide next-generation occupant impact safety during blast, crash, and rollover events while also affording extreme fire resistance and negligible smoke toxicity. Building from a highly successful Phase I program in which optimized HybridSil trim materials afforded HIC (d) values of 337 and exceptional ASTM E1354 fire resistance performance, NanoSonic will implement an aggressive 24-month Phase II SBIR research program to produce pioneering, highly flame resistant HybridSil EA trim kits that exceed TARDECs HIC(d), FST, and durability specification performance requirements while maintaining cost-effective manufacturing scalability necessary for a graceful Phase III transition into military and commercial vehicles. In support of near term Phase III integration within a broad spectrum of military vehicles, NanoSonic has teamed up with Jankel, an industry leader in the armored vehicle and personal protection industry, as its technology integrator to establish streamlined, cost-effective procedures for outfitting TARDEC approved military vehicles with Phase II optimized, commercially scalable HybridSil EA trim parts.


Grant
Agency: Department of Transportation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2015

NanoSonic will work with the Giles County School System and Leidos transportation engineers to develop STEM lesson plans concerning ITS and CV technologies, and will demonstrate their use in the classroom with Middle School and High School teachers and students. During Phase I, twenty draft lesson plans were developed, ten for Middle School and ten for High School. During Phase II, these plans would be used in after-­‐school ITS STEM classes, at three Giles County schools during Year 1 and at all County schools during Year 2, and in ITS STEM Summer Camps. Approximately twenty additional lesson plans would be developed, focusing on hands-­‐on demonstrations of CV concepts. The lessons would be NanoSonic will work with the Giles County School System and Leidos transportation engineers to develop STEM lesson plans concerning ITS and CV technologies, and will demonstrate their use in the classroom with Middle School and High School teachers and students. During Phase I, twenty draft lesson plans were developed, ten for Middle School and ten for High School. During Phase II, these plans would be used in after-­‐school ITS STEM classes, at three Giles County schools during Year 1 and at all County schools during Year 2, and in ITS STEM Summer Camps. Approximately twenty additional lesson plans would be developed, focusing on hands-­‐on demonstrations of CV concepts. The lessons would be revised in response to reviews from a group of external evaluators, and the final plans and supporting materials would be delivered to the Department of Transportation for free distribution. Commercial products resulting from the Phase II program will include customized demonstration hardware kits corresponding to multiple ITS lessons, a boxed ITS Road Trip board game, and professionally printed, durable copies of lesson plans and supporting information for teachers, students and career counselors. Potential commercial partners, other school districts, and multiple government agencies have expressed interest in this program.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2016

This NASA Phase II SBIR program would fabricate high sensitivity semiconductor nanomembrane 'sensor skins' capable of multi-axis surface pressure characterization on flight test vehicles, wind tunnel models as well as operational aerospace vehicles, using SOI (Silicon on Insulator) NM techniques in combination with our pioneering HybridSil nanocomposite materials. Such low-modulus, conformal nanomembrane sensor skins with integrated interconnect elements and electronic devices can be applied to new or existing wind tunnel models for multi-axis surface pressure analysis, or to lightweight UAVs as part of active flutter control systems. NanoSonic has demonstrated the feasibility of NM transducer materials in such sensor skins for the measurement of dynamic shear stress and normal pressure. Semiconductor NM sensor skins are thin, mechanically and chemically robust materials that may be patterned in two dimensions to create multi-sensor element arrays that can be embedded into small probe tips or conformally attached onto vehicle and model surfaces. Sensors may be connected to external support instrumentation either through thin film and ribbon cable interconnects, or potentially wirelessly using RF communication directly from electronic networks incorporated into the sensor skin material.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2015

Current and future communication and computer networks require affordable, high performance interconnecting wires and cables to take advantage of ultra high-speed communication transmission lines and computational hardware. Existing singlemode optical fiber interconnects are expensive and difficult to install by local users and consumers. To address this problem, NanoSonic is developing low-cost, easily handled polymer optical fibers with bandwidth-distance products greater than 1GHz.km. Short length interconnects of such fibers would allow the transmission of 10 Gb/sec data tens of meters with negligible degradation. During Phase I, NanoSonic demonstrated the feasibility of fabricating graded index polymer optical fibers using its patented molecular-level self-assembly nanotechnology manufacturing processes. Grading the index of the fiber allows higher bandwidth-distance product, as well as dispersion shifting and dispersion flattening important to maximize the number of parallel channels in dense wavelength division multiplexed (DWDM) systems. Polymer fibers made using conventional methods do not allow the type of index modifications required to achieve such performance. Polymer optical fiber preforms were made by self-assembly, and preforms were collapsed and drawn to create prototype optical fibers. Initial measurements indicated performance close to that modeled. During Phase II, NanoSonic would work with the Polymicro subsidiary of Molex Inc., a major U.S. manufacturer of optical fiber cables and interconnects, to fabricate and evaluate improved polymer fiber prototypes. First, Phase I manufacturing equipment would be redesigned and reconstructed to incorporate proportional-integral-derivative (PID) feedback control. This would reduce errors in fiber diameter control over long lengths encountered during Phase I, allow the continuous production of kilometers of fiber that meets specifications, and maximize output per unit time while minimizing waste. Polymicro would assist with equipment design based on many years experience manufacturing specialized glass optical fiber products. Second, multiple groups, including Virginia Techs campus communication and computer network, DOE Berkeley and Oak Ridge laboratories, a regional telephone cooperative, a multi-school system data network, and two large U.S. technology companies, would perform beta site testing of short length polymer fiber interconnects. Beta test sites would potentially include GENI and ESnet hardware. Commercial Applications: The primary application of the graded index polymer fibers produced through this program would be as short length interconnects in high speed communication and computer networks - in other words, as low cost jumper cables up to a few hundred feet in length. Extended applications could include use as fibers with dispersion flattened spectral response that allows increased DWDM channel capacity; complex index grading enabled by self-assembly permits the fabrication of such waveguides.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2016

A Phase II SBIR transition of NanoSonic?s high flex HybridSil space suit bladder and glove materials will provide a pivotal funding bridge toward Phase III maturation of this very promising lightweight, self-healing pressurized space suit assembly technology. Based on highly encouraging Phase I results indicating 1) its self-healing bladder composites instantly repair after puncturing with a 2 mm probe in vacuum at 10-5 torr to maintain stable operational bladder pressures of 4.3 and 8.1 psi and 2) HybridSil armor array padding provides increased abrasion and puncture resistance at lower weights than currently employed glove padding while meeting established adhesion and modulus metrics, NanoSonic envisions significant Phase III transition potential into next-generation EVA space suit ensembles. To meet its proposed technical objectives, NanoSonic proposes an aggressive 24-month Phase II SBIR research program to further optimize its high flex HybridSil space suit bladder and glove materials and demonstrate their manufacturing compatibility. Upon Phase II completion, NanoSonic will provide NASA with operational lower arm bladder and TMG glove softgood prototypes integrating its optimized high flex HybridSil self-healing composite and armor array padding respectively.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2016

Heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, chromium, mercury, and cadmium have attracted significant worldwide attention for their impact on human health. To allow the efficient monitoring of such RCRA 8 heavy metal levels in water in steam electric power plants and other facilities, a precise, mobile and highly sensitive measuring instrument is required. Traditional laboratory based water analysis systems are usually costly and bulky, so not suitable for wide scale field deployment. Statement of how this problem or situation is being addressed NanoSonic’s NanoCS® chemFET heavy metal sensors offer significantly improved chemical sensitivity and selectivity, and wireless communication of contaminant concentration data to fix or mobile receivers. Multiple sensor elements can be configured into a small, lightweight, low cost probe to measure all RCRA 8 heavy metal targets simultaneously, and can be configured for permanent installation or mobile testing. What was done in Phase I? During Phase I, NanoSonic proved the technical feasibility of our initial scientific hypothesis. NanoSonic demonstrated that 1) silicon nanomembranes may be used as single chemFET sensor transducers, and as individual elements in multielement chemical sensor arrays, 2) a minimum detection level of 0.01ppm of target material can be achieved, 3) high selectivity to specific heavy metals, such as arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver can be realized using different, chemically self-assembled interfaces between the sensor elements and the water being analyzed. What is planned for Phase II? During the Phase II program, NanoSonic would transition these semiconductor nanomembrane chemFET RCRA 8 sensors and probes from their current concept and prototype stage to fielded instrumentation products. Prototype sensor probes capable of measuring all RCRA 8 heavy metal concentrations would be field tested by subcontractors in multiple steam electric power plants, other manufacturing facilities, and wastewater systems. This will require a complete understanding of sensor properties and the transduction mechanism, optimization of sensor design and production processes, completion of data acquisition and signal processing hardware and software, and the development of effective approaches to calibrate manufactured sensors and compensate for cross sensitivity effects. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits Multiple small, low cost sensor probes could be distributed over an area to allow the spatial mapping of heavy metal targets and the tracking of heavy metal concentrations as they change over time. The proposed NanoCS RCRA 8 heavy metal analysis tool would be a viable commercial product for NanoSonic. Key Words: Heavy Metal; RCRA 8s; chemFET; Nanomembrane; Sensor network; Wireless; Steam electric power plant


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2016

NanoSonics HybridSil Ice Protective Coating (IPC) will provide a practical, near-term solution for protecting U.S. Navy ships from problematic ice buildup during arctic missions. A Phase II STTR transition will provide a pivotal funding bridge toward Phase III maturation of this very promising, empirically validated coating technology. Building from its Phase I success and strong collaborative, shipyard transitional support, NanoSonic will work to further enhance the icephobic and anti-icing properties of its HybridSil IPC with Virginia Tech, qualify it with NAVSEA as a MIL-PRF-24635 Type V high durability topcoat, complete multiple ship superstructure coatings demonstration with defense prime integration partners, and scale up production to pilot scale manufacturing quantities within its established HybridSil manufacturing infrastructure using ISO 9001 protocols. Upon Phase II STTR completion, NanoSonics HybridSil IPC will be strategically positioned to compete with both MIL-PRF-24635E Navy topcoats and current state of the art icephobic coatings within the marine protective coating market. The competitive edge provided by HybridSil IPC will be its innovative combination of previously unavailable MIL-PRF-24635E Type V environmental durability and retained ice protective performance exceeding currently available ice protective coatings.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

The Department of Fuel Cell Technology Office has identified a need for durable, low cost membranes that offer enhanced energy efficiency to power zero emission vehicles. Specifically, a cost effective alternative to expensive commercial perfluorosulfonic acid ionomers are sought. Current affordable hydrocarbon membranes do not yet offer the performance or durability needed for fuel cell vehicle membranes. The objective of this program is to develop and demonstrate high temperature hydrocarbon based membranes that meet the chemical, thermal, and mechanical properties necessary to qualify for the demanding environments within a fuel cell vehicle. The approach involves the synthesis of novel high molecular weight aromatic hydrocarbon membranes that possess polar moieties along the polymer backbone and pendant quaternary ammonium groups. In Phase I, quaternary ammonium containing hydrocarbon polymers with polar pendant groups shall be synthesized and utilized to fabricate stable phosphoric acid (H3PO4) doped membrane composites. Proton conductivity shall be evaluated as a function of percent functionalization in a wide range of fuel cell vehicle operating conditions, including low humidity. The prototypes will be evaluated in-house for film formation quality, permeability, thermal, chemical, and mechanical durability to reach a Technology Readiness Level 5, and demonstrated in a cost effective, scalable manufacturing process. Technology Readiness Level 7 shall be reached via membrane incorporation within a 5 cm2 single cell, impedence testing, and short term fuel cell durability testing at an Independent National Laboratory. The Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Office has identified a need for robust, affordable fuel cell membranes. Innovative, hydrocarbon membranes shall be manufactured at a small business in the United States to advance our nation’s energy savings. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Durable, high temperature, proton conducting hydrocarbon-based membranes shall be commercialized primarily as fuel cell membranes with several major automakers. These membranes shall then be transitioned for use in stationary power applications, including primary power, backup power, and combined heat and power.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2015

This Air Force Phase II STTR program would develop low-cost semiconductor nanomembrane (NM) based high frequency pressure sensors, using SOI (Silicon on Insulator) NM techniques in combination with our nanocomposite materials. Such low-modulus, conformal nanomembrane sensor skins with integrated interconnect elements and electronic devices can be applied to new or existing wind tunnel models for full spectrum pressure analysis. During the program, we will transition the semiconductor NM pressure sensors from their current concept and prototype stage to low-cost instrumentation products of use to the aerostructure instrumentation programs, academic researchers and industrial technologists. We will develop an improved mechanical and electrical model of NM based sensor performance that will allow quantitative optimization of material properties and suggest optimal methods for sensor attachment and use for high frequency measurement applications. We will perform complete analysis of sensor cross-sensitivities and noise sources to allow optimization of signal-to-noise ratio and practical sensor sensitivity. Support electronics will be developed to acquire, multiplex, store and process raw sensor array data. We will also experimentally validate sensor array performance through extended water and hypersonic wind tunnel evaluation as well as possible flight tests if available, and produce a high frequency pressure sensor array and data acquisition electronics system for sale.

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