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Blacksburg, VA, United States

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 246.56K | Year: 2015

Prime Photonics will refine and demonstrate a FOD detection system on the first stage fan of a F402 engine. The FOD detection system will increase the safety of aircraft operations by providing the ability to identify the occurrence of FOD allowing for remediation of any damage which may have been caused. The FOD detection system is based on the FOCIS sensor technology, a case mounted optical blade tip timing sensor. The system to be tested includes optical probes, laser instrumentation, data acquisition hardware, and analysis software. Furthermore, the implementation of the sensing system requires minimal modification to the engine. This new capability will enhance the safety and reliability of the AV-8B fleet, and ultimately other aircraft platforms, by providing data which can be used to eliminate engine failures resulting from undetected damage caused by FOD.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 499.84K | Year: 2016

Prime Photonics proposes to build on our successful Phase I SBIR effort to elevate the TRL of a novel non-destructive inspection technique to enable detection, localization, and characterization of subsurface cracks in non-ferrous components within Navy propulsion systems. Under the Phase I effort, Prime Photonics demonstrated the ability to detect and localize cracks in the bore of medium caliber gun barrels. The Phase I hardware was able to locate cracks in ferrous samples that had machined surface features (rifling) and non-ferrous coatings (chromium plating). We were also able to detect qualitatively changes in general material characteristics in mechanically damaged areas within the bores of retired barrels.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.94K | Year: 2014

Advances in the capabilities of electronics have enabled high power density devices. However, even in light of advances in electronics efficiency figures, the increased power density operational points result in the generation of excess heat. In order to maintain efficiency and to product sensitive components from thermally-induced failure, intelligent rejection of thermal energy is often a critically limiting constraint in system development. Novel concepts for thermal management are particular necessary in applications with finite energy stores, such as long-duration space missions. The Prime Photonics magnetothermal fluid pump provides for game-changing, autonomous self-powered thermal management systems. Our self-powered pump converts excess thermal energy into point-of-use mechanical energy with a low mass insertion penalty. The operational frequency of the pump is proportional to the magnitude of the thermal gradient, supplying additional pump capacity in response to increased thermal loads.

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.70K | Year: 2015

Problem being solved: Research is increasingly trying to push the boundaries with respect to observing rare elemental isotopes encountered as a result of highly energetic cosmic events. These rare elements can be produced through naturally through events such as supernovae, but prove problematic to synthesize and observe in controlled laboratory settings. Rare isotopes can be produced through nuclear interactions, such as neutron capture or proton collisions, and subsequently separated and guided using sophisticated quadruple magnetic lenses. The energetic reactions required to create the isotopes generate radioactive decay byproducts. The combination of the gamma, neutron, and proton particles create a harsh environment that complicates observation and control of the magnetic fields required for beam steering. The neutron fluxes experienced in the beam pathway lead to significantly reduced lifetime and effectiveness of conventional liquid proton procession type magnetometers. How problem is addressed: Development of a radiation resistant magnetic field probe would allow in-situ monitoring of the magnetic fields while limiting the amount of recalibration and costly downtime to carefully remove the damaged magnetic field probes. A compact, all-optical magnetic field sensor capable of scalar magnetometry with low noise, high sensitivity, and a high threshold for radiation damage allows for direct observation of magnetic field strengths, and provides significant cost savings in terms of replacement and recalibration. Commercial applications and benefits: Medical treatments, such as treatments for cancer, stand to benefit from the new isotopes and the research on how they interact with nuclei. Rare isotopes may also -be able to provide safer, enhanced imaging and medical diagnostic tools. Cost reductions in isotope research and generation translate directly to increased understanding and decreased cost of implementation of rare isotope technologies. Keywords: Sensors, instrumentation, magnetometer, radiation resistant, isotope generation Summary for Congress: Prime Photonics will design and develop innovative low cost, long-life, radiation resistant magnetic sensors based on optical fibers. These sensors will reduce the cost of generating rare isotopes in high radiation environments.

Prime Photonics, LC | Date: 2014-09-16

Provided is a magneto-thermoelectric generator (MTG) device for energy harvesting and more particularly a device for converting waste thermal heat from a photovoltaic cell into mechanical energy and ultimately into electrical energy. Embodiments operate on the principle of thermally-induced switching between open and closed states of a ferromagnetic switch to generate mechanical oscillations that cause strain in a piezoelectric material, resulting in the generation of electrical energy. A structure capable of providing a non-linear restoring force provides mechanical energy to the device, which is a significant improvement over prior art MTG devices employing a linear spring restorative force. The device is also provided as a hybrid photovoltaic (PV)/MTG energy harvester for scavenging heat from photovoltaic cells. The hybrid PV/MTG device is particularly useful for harvesting waste heat to boost power generation, extend flight duration, and provide thermal management aboard HALE platforms.

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