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Santa Fe, NM, United States

Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 117.77K | Year: 2015

Southwest Sciences Inc. (SWS), in collaboration with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), will develop a reliable, ultra compact, low power diode laser multigas sensor to measure carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia (NH3), oxygen (O2) and water vapor (H2O) concentrations in the presence of saturated and condensable water concentrations appropriate for NASA's portable life support system (PLSS). A high sensitivity optical absorption technique known as wavelength modulation spectroscopy will be used in the sensor. The system will be light weight (


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

An aircraft system for detecting ambient methane will be developed in this project. The system will use a diode laser to perform a wavelength modulation absorption measurement of this greenhouse gas. The optical system will feature a open path system that is mounted outside the aircraft. The system will make measurements at a 10 Hz rate.


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

The ability to detect radiological materials at standoff distances of a kilometer or more would be invaluable to national security and nonproliferation efforts. In particular, it is important to be able to distinguish isotopes of uranium and other elements associated with nuclear weapons development and use. Current methods for identifying radiological isotopes require direct sampling. Laser based methods such as plasma emission spectroscopy and laser induced breakdown spectroscopy have shown promise in the laboratory for detection of some radio nucleotides, however, these methods cannot be performed at distances of more than about 100 meters. Southwest Sciences and the University of New Mexico are investigating the use of light filaments for spectroscopic detection of radio nucleotides over large distances of a half kilometer or more. Narrow diameter laser beams can be propagated over long distances and can potentially be used to create a plasma at a distant target for emission spectroscopy. This phenomenon is known as light filamentation and its use for standoff atomic emission spectroscopy is promising. The opportunity is that a self-trapped lament would have enough intensity to vaporize and excite a material remotely, and enough energy to make the glow of that excitation visible through a telescope collection system and spectrometer at long distances. The ultimate objective is the development of this technology into a mobile field instrument. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The development of a method for remote sensing of radiological materials, particularly uranium isotopes and nuclear decay products related to weapons development is of high importance to the security of the United States and its allies. This technology would aid nuclear non- proliferation and nuclear forensics efforts. Light filament technology developed for plasma emission spectroscopy of remote targets may also have other important uses such as detection of trace explosives and of soil contaminants in inaccessible or dangerous places such as abandoned mining and industrial operations.


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

Experiments planned to better constrain the value of the neutron electric dipole moment will test the standard model of physics and thereby contribute to DOEs mission to understand the fundamental forces and particles of nature as manifested in nuclear matter. These experiments take place in an interaction region where the magnetic and electric fields must be precisely controlled. It is a challenging environment, because access to the interaction region is limited, the temperature approaches absolute zero, and the sensors must cause minimal perturbations to the fields. This Phase II STTR project will further develop an all-optical measurement technique that can monitor fields without perturbing them and can operate at cryogenic temperatures, and thus could monitor the fields in the interaction region while the experiment is in progress. The overall goal is to develop an all-optical monitor based on diamonds doped with nitrogen, then processed to create nitrogen-vacancy centers. The magnetic and electric fields change the spectroscopy of the centers. Optical fibers bring light to and from the diamond. The Phase I research developed several fiberized sensor designs. One design was tested at low temperatures and shown to be robust. The optical noise associated with the design was shown to be low. Intellectual property developed includes a method for reducing effects from laser speckle and a proprietary sensor design. The Phase II project will produce a number of sensors based on the best designs. They will be tested for magnetic signature, modeled for electrical signature, and used to measure magnetic and electric fields. The optical design will be packaged and software will be developed to make a turn-key device. The sensors will be tested at a neutron electric dipole facility. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Successful completion of Phase II will result in a sensor with a unique combination of sensitivity and electro-magnetic inertness. Other physics experiments could benefit, as could particle accelerators. Further development may lead to additional sensors for medical and industrial applications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT: Hypersonic vehicles will require structures that can withstand highly transient flows and complex loadings throughout the flight trajectory. Shock boundary-layer interaction can excite panels locally and lead to structural failures. Non-contacting measurement technologies are needed to characterize the effect of flow transients (due to pressure and temperature fluctuations) on the structural integrity of the aircraft panels and the structural response to shock boundary-layer interactions. Southwest Sciences will develop a non-contact instrument capable of measuring surface topology with a field of view and resolution suitable for ground and in-flight inspections and meeting the specified requirements in the Solicitation. This is a collaborative work between Southwest Sciences and the University of Florida. The goal of this STTR project is to develop an imaging sensor for 3D surface deformation measurements below aerodynamic surfaces in hypersonic flow conditions for both ground and flight test systems. The Phase I project will demonstrate the feasibility of using light modulation technique to measure surface deformations of aerodynamic surfaces in hypersonic flow conditions. ; BENEFIT: This project will be of great interest to the Federal Government, especially the Air Force and NASA; providing an important diagnostic and control instrument for advanced combustion systems and hypersonic ground test facilities. In collaboration with military aircraft engine and instrumentation manufacturers, this high-speed surface deflection 3D imaging sensor would be developed into a commercial product combining modest cost with high performance for ground-based diagnostics in hypersonic wind tunnels and in-flight hypersonic vehicles. The broad market for this 3D imaging sensor includes the engine manufacturers for aircraft and ground-based applications, manufacturers of combustors and burners for industrial applications, research facilities in the academia, industry and government. If this technology finds use for service inspections, the market will increase significantly. We also anticipate that this inspection technology will find use in the automotive and other machinery manufacturing industries. In addition, optical imaging and inspection methods are finding growing use in the food industry and, of course, medicine.

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