Burlington, MA, United States

Spectral Sciences, Inc.

www.spectral.com
Burlington, MA, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 489.61K | Year: 2015

Widely used composite materials reduce aircraft weight and cost, improve structural performance, and boost fuel efficiency. However, composites are susceptible to adhesive bond line quality issues, both in initial fabrication and in service related bonding failures. Detection of weakened bonds requires an easy diagnostic approach to routinely monitor composite aircraft health. Our proposed solution combines a flexible bulk wave exciter, compact lightweight rapid zooming optical imaging device, and innovative processing. This approach can monitor an entire airframe, or zoom in to a specific joint and identify suspicious bonds by detecting areas of resonance or damping change resulting from a weakened bond. This technique, the Fast Imaging Non-Destructive Inspection Technique (FINDIT), directly and nondestructively tests the mechanical properties of composite bond lines. FINDIT quantitatively measures the associated surface tilt-tip changes and may be automated, removing subjective judgment factors. FINDIT can outline a hidden kissing bond and quantify the bond strength by measuring the bond mechanical damping properties. We envision commercial aircraft applications in production and normal hangar maintenance, as well as automotive safety, and other areas of composite application such as boats.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: STTR PHASE I | Award Amount: 224.78K | Year: 2015

This STTR Phase I project is focused on development of a hands-on instructional tool based on interactive molecular dynamics simulations that will engage organic chemistry students in the study of chemical reactions. There is currently a need for educational tools that teach chemistry more effectively to young American students, as well as inspire them to pursue careers in the physical sciences. Because chemistry is the study of objects (atoms and molecules) too small to experience directly, an unusually large amount of abstract thinking is required to learn the subject. This can present a problem that can be very difficult for students to overcome. The fun, game-like, educational tool that is the focus of this STTR project will not only offer the student the ability to induce a chemical reaction by hand but also to see how the molecule behaves while the reaction is taking place, allowing the student to gain chemical intuition in a way that is virtually unprecedented. Ultimately, this software is expected to serve as a powerful tool for chemistry, biology, and materials science researchers as well, and as a result it should have a positive impact on many of the important challenges facing the world today.

The product of this STTR project will be a tactile and interactive instructional computer tool along with a set of computer laboratory exercises that will more effectively teach organic chemistry and chemical intuition. The key advantages this technology has over existing chemistry simulation tools are that 1) accurate simulations of very complex molecular interactions are computed in real-time in response to a students input and involvement in the reaction environment, and 2) a 3D haptic or no-touch input device allows the student to manipulate the evolving chemical system during the simulation. Graphical processing units (consumer graphics cards primarily used for video gaming) and redesigned computer algorithms for first principles quantum chemistry modeling serve as the enabling technologies for the instructional tool. The main tasks to be performed during the STTR Phase I project are 1) development of a user interface and 2) development of a set of organic chemistry laboratory exercises that render the technology suitable for educational applications. In addition, although the underlying software technology (including the input device interface) is advanced enough to allow instruction of nearly all organic chemistry concepts, further development will continue in order to improve the efficiency and expand the capabilities of the software.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.22K | Year: 2015

Composite materials, widely used in aircraft, reduce manufacturing cost, improve structural performance, and boost fuel efficiency. However, composites are susceptible to hidden heat damage, which may occur from fire, exhaust impingement, overheating, or during repairs. The earliest heat damage stage, referred to as incipient heat damage, may reduce upper use temperature, cause matrix mass loss, and reduce mechanical flexural strength. We propose an innovative approach that detects this very early matrix damage via changes in the mechanical flexural response of a structure. We use a small lightweight optical imaging detector that can rapidly monitor large structures and identify regions exhibiting incipient heat damage. We combine small mechanical excitation of the structure under test with a lightweight camera that images the surface resonant frequency, directly probing the local flexural strength of the composite material. This technique, called the Fast Imaging Non-Destructive Inspection Technique (FINDIT), can directly and nondestructively test the mechanical flexural properties of composite material. Flexural damage has been shown to provide a first warning of incipient heat damage before visual manifestation. FINDIT quantitatively measures the associated tilt-tip surface changes, and may be automated, removing subjective judgment factors, rendering the approach fully functional under adverse circumstances.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1000.00K | Year: 2015

Spectral Sciences, Inc., and subcontractors Corvid Technologies, Inc., and Busek Co., Inc. propose a Database-Driven Discrete Debris Signature Model (4DSM) for signature estimates of discrete post-intercept debris (PID) and solid-rocket motor (SRM) debris. The 4DSM software tool is designed to post-process first-principles code (FPC) outputs. The tool will use a validated debris-properties database and an innovative method to harness the database to generate signatures. The key innovation is a new, fast parametric model in 4DSM that relates discrete debris signature properties to their formation conditions. In Phase II, the database will be constructed through a systematic series of measurements on debris collected from ground tests. The database will be used to train the parametric signature model, and, where appropriate, will be directly integrated into a signature model using an interpolative scheme. The 4DSM software will be tested and validated against ground and flight test field data. Phase III will transition this fast running post-processing tool to missile defense simulation architectures. Approved for Public Release 15-MDA-8169 (20 March 15)


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 105.00K | Year: 2016

We intend to create a software tool, The Fast Rendering Algorithm for Missile Emission Scenes, Version 2 (FRAMES 2.0), that allows for real time modeling of EO/IR plume signatures over a wide variety of threat systems and viewing platforms. The software suites foundation lies in a one-time creation of a look-up table which represents high-fidelity missile plume computations in terms of fluid flow streamlines with superimposed physical properties such as temperature, density, and species concentrations. The result is a compact and scalable (for different system and sensor parameters) representation of the multi-dimensional simulation environment. This is coupled with novel spatial morphing, field interpolation, and radiative transfer algorithms to allow FRAMES to achieve real-time performance over a wide range of threat systems. This software suite will initially be developed to address boost phase missile signatures and later extended to mid-course. It will be developed as an integrable module for MDA high-level architectures including the Objective Simulation Framework (OSF).


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

Modeling and predicting climate change requires knowledge of the fate of excess CO2 in the global carbon cycle, and particularly the processes of terrestrial carbon sequestration. Information on these processes can be obtained from vegetation trait measurements at frequent time intervals and over a wide range of spatial scales using imaging spectroradiometers on Unmanned Aerial Systems. The required spectral range is 350-2500 nm. A small, low-weight, hyperspectral imaging spectroradiometer system for UASs will be developed based on a high-performance solid-core spectrograph design and robust processing algorithms that produce calibrated vegetation trait products. The key innovation is extension of the measurement range from the visible to the short-wave-infrared. The system will be packaged for deployment on a multicopter or fixed-wind Unmanned Aerial System, enabling overflight monitoring of vegetation to determine sequestered carbon content. In Phase II it will be integrated with a multicopter and tested at a well-instrumented ecological research facility. A complete system design will be developed including: 1) a detailed optical and mechanical design for the new imaging spectrograph, and 2) processing algorithms for automated production of calibrated, atmospherically corrected imagery and vegetation products. Feasibility will be proven and system performance predicted through engineering calculations and processing of airborne hyperspectral data. A lightweight imaging spectral sensor integrated into a small drone multicopter will produce high-resolution maps of plant health for climate change research and precision agriculture. Researchers can map ecological change at the forest level, while farmers can control fertilizer and water based on the requirements of individual plants. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The sensor system will be integrated into a commercial product line aimed at the precision agriculture and mineral exploration industries. It represents a breakthrough in size, weight, and performance that will enable routine application in the growing, but cost-sensitive field of precision agriculture. It will also be sold into the agricultural and ecological research markets.


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

In the years to come, advanced materials will help tackle many of the major challenges facing the world today, including energy sustainability, climate change, nuclear proliferation, international terrorism, and the spread of infectious disease. The Materials Genome Initiative has been established to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of new materials to help solve these problems and to help ensure the U.S. remains competitive in the global economy. Spectral Sciences propose to develop the interactive Computational Materials Science web interface that supports setup and execution of molecular and condensed phase calculations, results analysis and archiving, and comparison of new data to archived data. This interface will allow merging of materials science software, including a multitude of Gaussian-type orbital and plane-wave basis set codes for first principles calculations in order to make state-of-the-art computational chemistry and physics methods more accessible to the materials science community and easier for non-experts to use. Integrated with the webware and modeling software depot will be a searchable public database for the storage of both calculated and experimentally measured materials property data, which will promote data sharing and collaboration and reduce duplication of effort. In Phase I, a prototype of the system will be developed that allows for a proof and demonstration of concept for the Phase II product. The interactive website, database, and software infrastructure will be developed enough to support relatively simple calculations performed with the relevant software packages. It will also support basic database queries and data sharing. In the years to come, advanced materials will help tackle many of the major challenges facing the world today, including energy sustainability, climate change, nuclear proliferation, international terrorism, and the spread of infectious disease. This project will focus on the creation of web-enabled software designed to facilitate materials science research and collaboration and accelerate the development of next-generation materials. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Commercial application of the software and data management system includes development of new photovoltaic materials, battery and fuel cell technology, materials for hydrogen storage and generation, technology for detection of weapons of mass destruction, and improved equipment for protection against infection.


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

Many manufacturing processes, such as physical and vapor deposition, freeze-drying, and plasma etching, involve rarefied gas flows. Currently, simulation technologies require large computational clusters and/or were designed for use by experts. Furthermore, many industrial flows span a wide range of pressures which make application of continuum or rarefied methods to the entire flow field infeasible. These barriers have hindered the effective use of simulation to advance technology involving rarefied flows in manufacturing. Statement of how this Problem or Situation is Being Addressed: SSI proposes to leverage the DOE-funded Stochastic Parallel Rarefied-gas Time-accurate Analyzer (SPARTA) software within a web-enabled cloud computing graphical user interface (GUI). The approach will dramatically decrease the associated costs for process design and optimization by eliminating the costly hardware and set-up time for high performance computing. Additional hardening and “shrink wrapping” of the code will be done by insertion of automatic, adaptive routines, which will also help eliminate the need for an expert user. The new routines will maintain a high level of physical fidelity and numerical accuracy, so that the software can be effectively used by general users. What is to be done in the Phase I: In Phase I, we will develop a proof-of-principle prototype that allows execution of the SPARTA library through an easy to use, web interface. To establish feasibility, we will apply the software to a number of industry relevant flows. Through discussions with our commercial partners, we will develop a detailed Phase II plan that will include an extensive beta test of the commercial product. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed software will have a wide application to simulate many internal and external flow processes that are of great interest to manufacturing firms, pharmaceutical companies, and aerospace corporations. These simulation capabilities will provide a direct benefit to both the manufacturers and the US community of consumers through a reduction in cost and advancement in product designs in many industries, including microelectronic manufacturing. Advances in certain manufacturing processes could open a wide array of new innovations and capital savings that could result from these simulation capabilities.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.98K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT:Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) sensors have the unique ability to identify objects based on the spectral signatures of their surface materials. Movements of designated targets could be detected using images collected hours to days after they move. Many targets of interest, such as vehicles, have specular (non-Lambertian) surfaces with multiple materials and surface angles. This complexity, combined with possible changing atmospheric/illumination conditions and viewing geometries, can cause the observed target spectral signatures to fluctuate considerably, making detection and/or reacquisition challenging. The goal of this R&D by Spectral Sciences, Inc. and the Rochester Institute of Technology is to develop novel algorithms and software to extract, predict, and account for these signature variations and thus advance the state of the art in hyperspectral detection and identification. The software would incorporate reflectance and BRDF databases, a reflectance calculation module, and a detection module. In addition, Phase II will feature a new field data collect focused on validating the target BRDF modeling and detection algorithms. The Phase II software package will be embedded in a copy of the popular ENVI software package as a prelude to transitioning the software to a Phase III commercial product for the private sector, government agencies, and academia. BENEFIT:The software would bring enhanced performance to hyperspectral target detection and identification in military and homeland security applications, including border and perimeter surveillance, site monitoring, and search and rescue. Platforms include UAVs and spaceborne systems. Potential civilian remote sensing applications are in the areas of agriculture, mineral prospecting, land management, drug interdiction, disaster preparedness, and disaster damage assessment. Potential applications in medical hyperspectral imaging include detection of pathogens, biotoxins, and disease processes.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.22K | Year: 2016

To accelerate the development of scaled-up Electrospray Propulsion emitter array systems with practical thrust levels, Spectral Sciences, Inc. (SSI), in collaboration with Busek Co. Inc., and CFD Research Corporation, proposes the development of an Electrospray Propulsion Engineering Toolkit (ESPET). The innovation is a multi-scale engineering tool that extends experimental and detailed high-level physics characterization of microfluidic components to full-scale ESP microfluidic network performance. The innovation includes a central database of critical microfluidic properties. It is designed to allow ESP system engineers to efficiently narrow down the system component trade space and thereby substantially reduce the development time of advanced ESP systems. ESPET takes an engineering model approach that breaks the ESP system down into multiple microfluidic components or domains that can be described by analytical microfluidic solutions and specific parameters of the domain. Phase I was a successful proof of concept on the microfluidics of the Busek 100 micro class ESP system. In Phase II, full development of ESPET for arbitrary ESP designs will occur. The Phase II Work Plan includes construction of a microfluidics properties database, the development of the domain models and network solver, and the testing and validation against data produced by current ESP system developers.

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