Watertown, MA, United States
Watertown, MA, United States

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Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2016

The Department of Energy and the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility provides information needed for future climate projections, used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other policy-making activities. Current climate models include assumptions on the size and 3D spatial distribution of cloud particles. Existing cloud particle imagers allow for imaging only a cross- section of particles at a given time and location, leaving the third dimension of the cloud particle distribution unknown. The capabilities of present technology result in climate predictions and policy decisions based on models that have significant uncertainties. The overarching goal of this effort is to improve climate model predictions with measurements from a small, lightweight holographic cloud particle imager (HCPI) mounted on an unmanned aerial system (UAS). The HCPI provides data to improve upon current climate models by measuring the 3D cloud particle spatial and size distributions. The goal of this program is to miniaturize an HCPI, using recent advances in optics and photonics, and to decrease the holographic reconstruction time to allow for “real- time” data assessment. The Phase-1 effort designs an HCPI system, constructs a benchtop system, and develops the post-processing algorithm. Results from a benchtop system based on designs in the scientific literature will demonstrate the feasibility of the approach. For an in-line geometry of the HCPI design, a hologram is formed through the interference of the part of the beam that transmits through the volume and the parts of the beam that are scattered by cloud particles. The HCPI provides information about the entire 3D volume by applying post-processing algorithms on each recorded hologram. The Phase-2 effort focuses on constructing a manufacturable HCPI prototype for a UAS at a reasonable cost. A miniature holographic cloud particle imager is proposed to increase the accuracy of climate models and improve climate policy decisions. The device will be small enough to fly on an unmanned aerial system (UAS) for high volume, long-term sampling of clouds. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: A commercialized holographic cloud particle imager that is small enough to be flown on a UAS could also be used for studying other processes that generate many small particles (i.e. atomization, impacts, and explosions). Intricate fluid flow and air flow measurements could also be made by imaging 3D volumes of tracer particles.


Grant
Agency: Department of Homeland Security | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 499.99K | Year: 2016

RMD is proposing to construct a compact detector module for radiation pager applications utilizing a TlBr semiconductor device as the radiation sensitive element. Due to its excellent energy resolution, detection efficiency and low cost crystal growth method, a TlBr-based pager should greatly expand the capabilities and availability of these instruments. Various detector designs were evaluated during Phase I, using sensitivity and energy resolution as key differentiators. With a basic design now selected, RMD will start Phase II by refining design details and fabrication procedures, all with the goal of achieving a robust detector technology. The ANSI N42.32 standard will be met and further potential will be demonstrated towards meeting future radioisotopic identification needs. By program end, RMD will construct a prototype pager that highlights the technology. In its completed state, the TlBr technology will provide a new level of performance to the Nation's capabilities in monitoring the flow of radioactive materials within its borders. Other potential commercial applications include nuclear medicine, space and geological sciences and industrial non-destructive testing.


Grant
Agency: Department of Homeland Security | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 250.00K | Year: 2016

We propose to develop a thermal neutron detection module based on LiInSe2 semiconductor material as an alternative to He-3 detectors. While recent depletion of He-3 gas is the main driving force behind development of He-3 replacements, other issues with He-3 tubes such as a pressurized vessel used and microphonic issues are also important factors in handheld and portable detectors. LiInSe2 offers (1) efficient thermal neutron detection (significantly higher per-volume than 3H); (2) direct conversion of the neutrons to electrical signal, which is an advantage compared to the alternative solution based on scintillators with neutron detection capabilities; and (3) good separation between gamma and neutron particles utilizing simple pulse height discrimination. The final goal is to develop a LiInSe2 detection module and integrate it into a compact handheld instrument. The technical objectives of Phase II is to advance the technology based on Phase I investigation and design and develop a neutron detection module and integrated into a neutron handheld instrument.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1000.00K | Year: 2016

Hard X-ray high-speed imaging (HSI) technique is a unique research tool for studying transient phenomena in hard and soft condensed matter, in systems far from equilibrium, including materials under extreme conditions (stress, heat, etc.), failure of materials on impact, and the self-propagating exothermic reactions in metallic multilayers. The Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory is currently being upgraded, with one emphasis being hard X-rays for real-time measurements of materials. While a variety of high-performance direct detectors are available in the 8 to 12 keV energy range, currently there are no suitable detectors that provide the high X-ray absorption, fast timing, and micrometer-scale resolution needed for hard X-ray HSI. This problem will be further exacerbated as more hard X-ray beamlines become operational. f) Statement of How this Problem is Being Addressed: Through the use of two technologies developed recently at RMD, we propose to demonstrate a novel hard X-ray HSI detector that simultaneously overcomes sensitivity, timing, and spatial resolution limitations of current detectors. g) What is to be done in Phase I: We propose to develop an ultrafast, bright, high-efficiency scintillation detector for time-resolved hard X-ray HSI applications. Specifically, we propose to develop novel transparent optical ceramic scintillators which are superior in all performance metrics (such as absorption efficiency, light output, decay time) compared with other scintillators currently being used in hard X-ray imaging. Furthermore, a novel laser pixelation technique developed recently at RMD will be adapted and improved to realize an unprecedented micrometer-scale resolution in the scintillator. Both the pixelation and scintillator fabrication technique proposed here have been proven to be robust, cost-effective and high-throughput methods that could easily be scaled up. The proposed project will concentrate on larger-area detectors for imaging and radiography applications on nanosecond time scales, and will allow a push toward higher detective quantum efficiencies (DQEs) over a wider band of X-ray energies than can presently be obtained with available phosphors. h) Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Example research areas that stand to benefit from the proposed development include measurements of strain and texture during thermo-mechanical deformation, studies of composite materials, studies of layered systems, such as those with applied protective coatings, and dynamic studies of materials under extreme stress. Due to its extraordinary properties, we expect the proposed scintillator array technology to see widespread use in important synchrotron applications and have high commercial appeal.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.99K | Year: 2016

Keeping aging nuclear power plants in operation is crucial to the energy requirements of the United States. Monitoring and maintaining the strength and durability of concrete structures in power plants is essential for their ongoing safety and longevity. RMD is developing solidstate eddy current sensor technology with superior sensitivity, signaltonoise ratio, depth of interrogation, and spatial resolution to perform nondestructive evaluation (NDE) of concrete structures. The sensors will allow plant operators to improve the longterm operation and performance of nuclear power plants and ensure safety and reliability. The sensors developed in this program will offer superior performance to stateoftheart commercial devices and will have general utility in the NDE market. How this Problem is Being Addressed: RMD has shown that its new solidstate AMR sensors for eddy current test (ECT) and NDE outperform current commercial NDE technologies. RMD will work with its industrial partners to capitalize on the unique ability to detect deeply buried, defects and develop this technology into a commercial product. Phase I Results: Using both theoretical modeling and experimentation, RMD has developed new sensors, electronics and software that have the capability to provide superior, high reliability NDE. The probes will be compatible with existing NDE instruments. Phase I demonstrated that the new sensors can detect defects in metal reinforcement rods beneath the surface, similar to the rods and posttensioning tendons used in today’s concrete structures, and that the approach offers significant advantages including high sensitivity, good spatial resolution, extended depth capability, and the potential for less complex and more costeffective sensors for ECT and NDE. Phase II Plans: The Phase II program will complete the research and development of RMD’s novel NDT technology for inspecting nuclear power plant infrastructure. RMD will continue the theoretical modelling to optimize the AMR sensor design and system configuration in order to provide better capabilities than the technology that is currently available for detecting defects in components encased in concrete. RMD will further develop specialized data collection and analysis algorithms, design and build electronic circuitry, and develop a 2D mechanical scanning system. The end result will be a selfcontained prototype that can be demonstrated in the field. Commercial Applications: The solidstate ECT probes will be more sensitive, have higher signaltonoise ratio, scan faster, and provide more reliable detection of smaller defects than existing technologies. The proposed sensor arrays will be compatible with existing ECT equipment, ensuring rapid acceptance in the marketplace. The markets we will target include power generation, highway infrastructure and transportation, oil drilling, utility pipes and natural gas pipelines. Keywords: NDE, nondestructive evaluation, ECT, eddy current test, reinforced concrete structures, sensor array, AMR


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.78K | Year: 2016

The quest to understand dark matter is one of the major activities in modern particle physics and astrophysics. It is widely believed that dark matter is composed of a new type of subatomic particle that is not yet well understood. An important discovery in this area is the annual modulation signal measured using sodium iodide scintillation crystals deep in an underground laboratory in Italy. While this result runs contrary to the findings of some other experiments that utilized different methods, there are also some recent results that support the findings. Therefore, there is a clear need for confirmation of the experiments. A new sodium iodide experiment with lower radioactivity background levels would have a higher sensitivity that could confirm or refute the annual modulation result. The goal of this project is to develop sodium iodide detectors with considerably lower background. This is being accomplished by intensive purification of the raw materials, followed by special processes for crystal growth and detector fabrication. In the Phase I project, considerable progress was made in the purification and crystal growth aspects, which demonstrates the feasibility of the approach. Unprecedented low levels of radioactive impurities were achieved in large sodium iodide. Scintillation properties of the highpurity sodium iodide crystals were also found to be suitable for dark matter experiments. The proposed Phase II project will follow the approach demonstrated in Phase I and scale it up for the full size detectors that are needed. Prototype dark matter detectors will be built with the necessary purity and components to provide suitable performance for the annual modulation experiments to be replicated with even better sensitivity. The scientific impact of this result will be significant in furthering the understanding of a fundamental mystery in modern physics and cosmology. The availability of highpurity sodium iodide crystals will enable several largescale dark matter experiments that are under development worldwide.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2016

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Diseases in the vascular system are still the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in developed countries despite considerable therapeutic progress in recent years Blood flow velocity provides critical information needed for the diagnosis of vascular diseases planning of interventional surgery treatment and monitoring of endovascular treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations The lack of such flow characteristics prevents understanding the underlying hemodynamics and its correlation with multiple cerebrovascular diseases Therefore there is a critical need to obtain precise blood flow velocities in the vascular system which can be used to estimate the blood pressure wall shear stress on the arterial wall and other hemodynamic indicators and aid in diagnosing and treating a host of vascular diseases Current diagnostic tools suffer from poor accuracy or low spatial and temporal resolutions To overcome this limitation we propose to develop an ultrafast high resolution X ray blood flow velocimetry system that will provide quantitative blood velocity maps in the endovascular system Furthermore researchers using numerical simulations to understand the hemodynamics desperately seek detailed blood velocity and stress measurements for comparison and validation of their computer codes The proposed project aims at providing a novel blood flow velocimetry tool using an ultrafast X ray probing and inexpensive digital subtraction angiography DSA that can recover precise velocity distribution inside of the vascular systems especially for complex geometries The long term goal of the proposed research is to provide critical blood flow characteristics in vascular systems allowing scientists to predict the formation evolution and failure risk of vascular pathology such as arteriovenous malformations arterial occlusions stenosis and aneurysms The proposed technology has a great potential in generating a real time perioperative assessment of the blood velocity during a DSA routine The novel technology will enable medical scientists to gain more fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of hemodynamics in cerebrovascular systems The project is highly relevant to NIHandapos s mission because the precise real time assessment of blood velocities will lead to more educated therapeutic decisions which could save more lives improve health and reduce operation cost The expanded knowledge base will enhance the Nationandapos s economic well being and ensure a continued high return on the public investment in research PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE The goal of the proposed research is to develop a novel blood flow velocimetry system for the precise measurement of blood velocity in vivo using a combination of ultrafast high resolution X ray imaging technique and an inexpensive digital subtraction angiography image processing tool The system will provide critical information for clinical diagnosis treatment planning and treatment assessment of vascular diseases The development of such a velocimetry system is expected to have broad translational importance in the prevention and treatment planning of a wide range of vascular diseases thereby saving lives and improving healthcare while reducing operation costs


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 753.15K | Year: 2016

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Radioluminescence microscopy RLM is a newly developed method for imaging radionuclide uptake in live single cells Current methods of radiotracer imaging are limited to measuring the average radiotracer uptake in large cell populations and as a result lack the ability to quantify cell to cell variations With the new raio luminescence microscopy technique however it is possible to visualize radiotracer uptake within individual cells in a fluorescence microscope environment The goal of this project is to develop a revolutionary innovation in a key component used in this technique This key part in the radioluminescence microscopy imaging system is the scintillator that converts ionizing beta radiation into optical photons that are imaged with a CCD camera In this work an improved scintillator will be developed specifically for use in a radioluminescence microscopy system that will offer unprecedented sensitivity and spatial resolution Such a technological advance has the potential for widespread use in research and in hospitals providing a means to characterize how properties specific to individual cells e g gene expression cell cycle cell damage and cel morphology affect the uptake and retention of radiotracers Higher spatial resolution will allow single cells to be probed in situ in dense tissue sections and will dramatically improve the throughput of the instruments allowing thousands of cells to be imaged at once These new capabilities will be critical to help researchers better understand the behavior of rare single cels such as stem cells or drug resistant cells The work during Phase I was successful in demonstrating the significant RLM performance improvements with thin films of a new highly dense transparent scintillator europium activated lutetium oxide Lu O Eu This material has the highest density g cm of any known scintillator high effective atomic number excellent light output and an emission wavelength nm for which Si sensors have a very high quantum efficiency Scintillator specimens were integrated into a radioluminescence microscope demonstrating improved performance and the feasibility of our approach Our ultimate goal is to commercialize this technology as a radioluminescence enabled imaging dish which will have a standard form factor but will include a thin coating of the Lu O Eu scintillator at the bottom As such the technological innovation will provide a valuable new tool to researchers allowing unprecedented localization of radiotracer uptake down to single living cells This new innovative technology will have widespread use as an addition to current fluorescence microscope instruments in use today and thus will have great commercial potential PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE The goal of the proposed research is to develop a very high performance radioluminescence microscope for imaging radionuclide uptake in live single cells Among other benefits this technological advance has the potential for widespread use in research and in hospitals providing a means to characterize how properties specific to individual cells e g gene expression cell cycle cell damage and cell morphology affect the uptake and retention of radiotracers Because of the prominent role played by PET in oncology radioluminescence microscopy may also become a routine technique in cancer biology for instance to study the behavior of distinct cell subpopulations within a tumor such as the cancer stem cells or drug resistant cells In hematology the microscope could be used to characterize the properties of single immune cells Last this new technique will benefit the development of new imaging and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals since it will allow researchers to more precisely measure the uptake of a radiopharmaceutical in single cells


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2015

Neutron radiography using the foil-film transfer method is currently employed for the quantitative evaluation of the geometric and compositional characteristics of nuclear fuel burn-up distribution, visualization of cracks and void formations, fuel location determination, pellet-clad and pellet-pellet gaps identification, and to understand the state of non-fuel component geometries. Although this method is gamma insensitive and provides large area high spatial resolution radiographs, this process takes significant time to produce an image, which is impractical for neutron radiography and/or tomography. A large area digital detector that can simultaneously provide high spatial resolution, rapid response, and can operate in a harsh radiation environment is needed to accomplish these tasks. We are developing a novel solid-state digital imaging detector based on neutron intercepting integrated circuit. This detector offers high sensitivity to thermal neutrons, is insensitive to gamma radiation, has fast temporal response, is able to image highly-radioactive specimens with high spatial resolution, and can withstand intense mixed radiation environments. Low cost modular design and easy scalability to realize very large active areas are its other attractive features. In Phase I, we established the feasibility of developing a solid-state neutron radiography detector through experimental tests conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and at Idaho National Laboratory. The prototype detector demonstrated high efficiency to thermal neutrons, exceptional spatial resolution, insensitivity to gamma background from fuel specimens, and its ability to acquire images in minutes under realistic field conditions. The goal of the Phase II program is to develop a fully functional, large area digital neutron detector. The IC readout circuitry, data acquisition hardware, and software will be developed. The resulting prototype will be thoroughly characterized to demonstrate its sensitivity to neutrons, insensitivity to gamma radiation, high resolution imaging capability, and its ability to operate in a harsh radiation environment under field conditions. Technology commercialization activities will also be undertaken in parallel. The proposed neutron detector applications include non-destructive testing, baggage scanning at entry ports, diffraction studies in support of research in medicine, energy, and transportation at facilities worldwide including at DOEs Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and at the Los Alamos Neutron Scattering Center (LANCE). The Department of Homeland Securitys (DHS), Department of Defenses (DOD), and DOEs future deployments of radiation detection portal monitors will benefit from the proposed development.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.40M | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT: The DOD needs a multiple pulse X-ray imaging system with high frame rate capability to measure the motion of the target ballast and characterize the debris cloud generated during hypervelocity impacts. Such imaging capability is of vital importance for designing new long-range missile systems with improved accuracy, for assessing damage to the target upon impact to determine its lethality, and to design armors/armored vehicles to protect military personnel and material from enemy attacks. The proposed effort will transition the ultra-fast X-ray imaging technology, developed by Radiation Monitoring Devices (RMD), Inc., under Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), into greater capability for the warfighter by enabling dynamic imaging of denser hypervelocity objects and impact analysis. The key component of such a system is a fast scintillation screen with enhanced absorption of high energy X-rays, and high spatial resolution. We will focus on developing and delivering scintillator screens that can perform at high X-ray energies desired for testing. The scintillator screens will be integrated into high performance imaging detectors that will permit imaging at the desired high frame rates. This research will be carried out under the SBIR Technology Transition Plan (STTP/CRP) over a period of two years. BENEFIT: In addition to the aforementioned DOD application, the proposed scintillation imaging system would find widespread use in applications where high resolution, fast readout x-ray detectors are used. These include numerous other defense applications, medical functional imaging, structural biology, microtomography of teeth and bones, polymer processing, x-ray astronomy, nondestructive testing, and basic physics research. Ultrahigh frame rate detectors are also of vital importance for dynamic compression studies which are of critical importance for developing advanced materials to effectively withstand shockwaves. High-resolution digital x-ray imaging detectors currently have a large commercial market, significant fraction of which represents area where the proposed scintillator and the detector will have immediate impact.

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