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| 25 Latest New and Updated Technologies|
|Adaptive Spectral Imager for the Next Generation EKV 4/16/2009|
Through a 2005 SBIR Phase II contract, MDA funded Spectral Sciences to develop an imaging system. Spectral Sciences systemdesigned to be placed on a satellite or some space-based platformcomprises an infrared camera, polychromator, and a spatial-light modulator to create three-dimensional images of a particular object. For the commercial sector, the imager could be used in applications where thermal data is required, such as soil and crop monitoring, firefighting, and medical pathology.
|Inkjet Print Self-Assembly of Multifunctional Devices on Flexible Nanosat Surfaces 4/9/2009|
NanoSonic has incorporated inkjet spray techniques into its established electrostatic assembly (ESA) method for layering nanoparticles on a variety of substrates. As a result the company developed the capability to inkjet-print metal nanocluster solutions onto substrates to form patterned electrically conductive lines at room temperature.
|Gas Delivery Systems for Semiconductor Production
ATMI has introduced the first and only in-situ system, AutoClean, that helps to increase the safety, reduce the cost, and increase yield of semiconductor wafers produced by ion implantation systems. AutoClean is similar in principle and technological background to ATMI's very successful Safe Delivery System (SDS®), a gas delivery system that has essentially eliminated the hazard of toxic gas release in the semiconductor industry. SDS grew out of BMDO-funded Phase I and II SBIRs aimed at increasing the safety of gallium arsenide semiconductor production.
|Ontology Driven Integration Framework (ODIF) 2/27/2009|
Knowledge Based Systems, Inc. (KBSI; College Station, TX), has developed an example-based search engine that delivers fast and relevant results that are highly tailored to the needs, interests, and individual profile of the user. MDA has provided Phase I and II SBIR contracts for KBSIs technology, which could prove useful in sorting through information used in the areas of command and control, battle management, and communications (C2BMC). In 2007, the companys technology, called JackalFish, became available commercially on a limited trial basis. The product can be applied to a variety of text-intensive industries, from publishing to law to government contracting.
|Novel Array Waveguide Evanescent Coupler for Card-to-BackplaneOptical Interconnect Applications 2/27/2009|
Through a 2004 SBIR Phase II contract, MDA funded New Span to develop for military computer systems a fiber-optic component that can relay extremely high rates of dataupwards of 10 gigahertz. New Span uses optical coupling ribbons to replace electrical connectors for use in high-end computer processing and in commercial test equipment such as oscilloscopes. The company is primarily engaged in marketing its technology to oscilloscope manufacturers.
|UML Based Programming Support Environment 8/15/2008|
A new tool developed by CohesionForce, Inc. (Huntsville, AL) will allow programmers to more easily diagram and revamp existing software systems, enabling better management of future code modifications. MDA originally funded CohesionForces technology through a Phase I SBIR award to develop methods for upgrading or migrating software in evolving systems. The companys tool is commercial-ready, and CohesionForce remains on the lookout for new customers.
|High Energy Laser Diagnostics for Space Based Applications 7/21/2008|
Aculight has developed a commercial line of trademarked lasers and spun out a diode laser manufacturing company, partly on the strength of its MDA SBIRs in laser development. In addition, the company has parlayed Medical Free Electron Laser research, which was supported in its early days by SDIO and BMDO, into a novel technique for safely and precisely stimulating nerves in vivo.
|Integrated Missile Defense Planner Algorithmic Architecture 6/30/2008|
MDA-funded TechFinity has developed software that evaluates a missile threat and helps users decide which defense assets, in which locations and configurations, would be best for deflecting a missile attack or minimizing damage. MDA funded the technology through a 2003 MDA SBIR Phase II contract for its potential in improving missile defense planning and management. Users in the fields of logistics, transportation, and aviation also might find TechFinitys central technology beneficial, and the company continues to refine its technology and consider routes to commercialization.
|Advanced Regenerative Fuel Cell System for High-Altitude Airships 6/30/2008|
MDA-funded Giner Electrochemical Systems is developing a regenerative fuel-cell system that will replenish used fuel by capturing product water from the fuel cell and processing the water to transform it back into hydrogen and oxygen. MDA originally funded Giner through a Phase II SBIR award to develop an advanced regenerative fuel-cell system for possible use in the High Altitude Airship (HAA) program. Giner continues system development for its technology, which could prove useful in space vehicles or space stations, as well as the automobile and energy industries.
|FASST(tm) Synthesis of CIGS for Flexible Solar Modules 6/10/2008|
HelioVolt Corporation went quickly from start-up to full-on manufacturer of photovoltaic films in record time, based on a copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS)-based thin film solar technology and the development of a high-volume manufacturing method termed FASST. First volume shipments are planned for early 2009.
|Integrated Cost Modeling Software 5/15/2008|
CostVision, Inc., has developed software that offers enhanced security and functionality for people whose jobs involve making decisions that affect the cost of capital equipment, manufacturing processes, or products. The Missile Defense Agency originally funded the technology through a Phase II SBIR contract for its potential to avoid cost overruns and shorten system development time for defense systems. CostVision, whose software should appeal to a variety of industries, including manufacturing and industrial sectors, continues to enhance its offering while seeking new users.
|Improved High-power Diode Array 4/29/2008|
SiMMtec, Inc., has developed a laser diode pump with minimal cooling requirements, meaning that more vehicles, as well as smaller vehicles, might be able to carry laser weaponry onto the battlefield. SiMMtecs laser diode pump technology also could find use in application areas such as medicine, telecommunications, and microchip manufacturing. MDA originally funded the technology through a Phase II SBIR contract for its potential to improve high-energy heat-capacity lasers. SiMMtec continues to pursue primarily military customers for this technology while also scouting for new funding and sponsors.
|Rapid, Low Cost Composite Manufacturing Processes 4/18/2008|
MCT has developed microwave-based processes for producing high-quality, specialized metal composites. The companys technology offers reduced cost and processing time for manufacturing materials. MDA originally funded the technology through the SBIR program for its potential in improving materials for programs such as the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV). The company envisions its processes being used to make materials for armor, space structures, thermal management and electronics packaging, and tank and automotive components. MCT continues to examine commercialization strategies for the MDA-funded technology.
|Ultrasensitive, Real-Time Optical Health Monitoring System
Real-Time Ammonia Sensor
Through a series of Phase I and II SBIRs, MDA has funded NovaWave Technologies to develop a real-time optical health and ammonia gas sensor systems primarily for the Airborne Laser (ABL) program. While NovaWave is pursuing Phase IIIs for these technologies, part of this work has also been leveraged to achieve in excess of $1 million in commercial sales.
Based on research partially funded by BMDO, Lumera Corporation (Bothell, WA) has developed 40- and 100- gigabit-per-second (Gbps) optical modulators made from novel electro-optic polymers. Devices made with this new material run at higher operational speeds with lower optical losses, lower power consumption, and lower cost of fabrication than existing devices using inorganic materials.
|Fabrication of ZrC, HfC, TaC-based Fibrous Monolithic Ceramics for Rocket Propulsion Systems 3/20/2008|
Advanced Ceramics Research, Inc. (ACR) has developed a fast process for making tough, long-lasting ceramic composites at competitive costs. The process is used to make fibrous-monolithic (FM) ceramics, which have a cellular, or fiber-like, structure that stops cracks or imperfections from propagating to the point where the materials shatter. These benefits could make FM ceramics attractive for aerospace applications, in particular by replacing rhenium, a rare metal considered difficult to fashion into parts, as a material for rocket components. Already, the company has licensed its FM technology to manufacturers for producing oil-drilling bits and industrial cutting tools, and there are licensing opportunities for other applications requiring durable materials that can operate in high-temperature, high-stress environments. ACR is experimenting with its FM process to manufacture artificial bone that can be absorbed by the body after being replaced by healthy bone cells.
|Large Area Hydride Vapor Phase Epitaxy of Gallium Nitride
MDA has awarded Kyma Technologies numerous SBIRs in the area of bulk growth of gallium nitride (GaN) crystals for high-power radio-frequency applications. The company has demonstrated the ability to increase the size and manufacturability of bulk GaN and has worked with DoD laboratories and academic partners to demonstrate their product in several advanced semiconductor device types of both military and commercial interest. Bulk GaN is emerging as a viable replacement for silicon carbide and sapphire, which are used to make blue and white LEDs, with many other applications possible in hybride electric vehicles, sensors, laser diodes, terahertz imaging, and optoelectronic displays
|High-power, radio-frequency microwave cavity amplifier
Through a 1993 SBIR Phase I award and a 1994 Phase II award, MDA-predecessor BMDO funded Aria to develop a hybrid amplifier able to operate at high power and high frequency comparable to vacuum tubes, with efficiencies approaching those of solid-state devices. Arias Active Radio Frequency Cavity Amplifier enables a large number of commercially available radio-frequency solid-state transistors that are placed between the cylindrical resonant cavities of the device to achieve synchronous reaction when power reaches the output cavity, thereby generating a high power output. The company is currently focused on marketing its product to the telecom and satellite communications, industrial heating, and plasma-fusion lighting industries.
|Development of a High Capacity 35 K Multistage Turbo-Brayton Cryocooler 8/21/2007|
Creare, Inc. has developed a cryogenic method for separating and recycling noble gas isotopes from expired air, helping to reduce the cost of an enhanced MRI method that produces high-resolution imagery of the lung.
|Modification of Semiconductors for Monolithic Integration of Optoelectronic Devices 8/10/2007|
Through a 2000 SBIR Phase I award and a 2002 Phase II award, BMDO funded ALTAIR Center to develop and demonstrate an optics-based platform capable of handling 1.3-micron and 1.5-micron wavelengths for military communications systems. ALTAIR has developed a means to control the refractive index of semiconductor materials used in optical applications through a process that eliminates numerous steps involved in a common photolithography technique known as photomasking and etching. ALTAIR Centers process is efficient and inexpensive as it can be applied to off-the-shelf products and performed at room temperature with minimal clean-room requirements. ALTAIR Centers technology should prove beneficial in areas such as optical signal processing, optical computing and communications, photonics, infrared optics component manufacturing, laser-diode manufacturing, remote sensing and monitoring, and spatial light modulation.
|Rapid, Low-Cost, Reformable Tooling for Prototyping and Short-run Manufacturing of Advanced Composite Structures 8/7/2007|
Through a 2003 SBIR Phase I award and a 2004 SBIR Phase II award, MDA funded 2Phase to develop a tooling solution that allows a motor case with precision-located features to be manufactured quickly and inexpensively over a lightweight mandrel that could be removed quickly and simply after the fabrication is complete. The companys Reconfigurable Tooling System utilizes a tool bed filled with ceramic and inorganic water-soluble slurry nicknamed engineered quicksand. Once a part is placed in the slurry for replication, the machine withdraws the water-based binder mixture from the quicksand, hardening the mold to a firm chalk-like consistency in as little as 15 minutes. The system allows a shop to begin work on other projects in the same tool bed in quick order after finishing the manufacture of a particular part, as the hardened slurry can be re-liquefied by reintroducing the binder mixture. 2Phase plans to market its product to aerospace and transportation manufacturers as a means of creating faster, less-expensive products or repairs with conventional or high-temperature composites.
|Multi-segmented Semiconductor High-power Lasers 8/3/2007|
The laser technology described in this Spinoff Notebook article covers an interesting-and well-known to the Technology Applications program-progression of technology development and its application to other uses. The technology (a microlaser) was originally funded by an SDIO Innovative Science and Technology contract to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Lexington, MA). The lead scientist for the project at MIT, Aram Mooradian, quickly became the advocate and common thread for the succession of the technology from its original development.
Dr. Mooradian left MIT to found Micracor, a venture-backed spinoff company from MIT, and brought the MIT-developed microchip laser technology with him. In 1994, BMDO (formerly SDIO) funded Micracor to further develop the laser work, especially surface-emitting, optically pumped lasers.
In 1997, Micracor was sold to Coherent Laser Group. Dr. Mooradian then went on to found another company-Novalux, Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA)-and patented and produced an electrically pumped version of the originating BMDO technology, making it simpler and more cost-effective. This product is called the Novalux Extended-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (NECSEL).
The main focus at this time is the projection display market. NECSELs will appear in rear-projection laser televisions around December 2007. They can also be used in movie theatre projectors, automobile heads-up displays, illuminated passive advertising signs, and specialty lighting. In terms of military applications, they can be used in range finders, target designators, and sensors for detecting chemical and biological agents.
|Improved Materials for Optical Memories
Through a 1997 SBIR Phase II award, BMDO funded Scientific Materials Corporation (SMC; Bozeman, MT) to develop crystalline optical memory materials. From this effort, some materials were identified for their potential to perform radio-frequency (RF) signal processing in radar ranging systems. The crystalline technology also showed commercial potential for fast random-access-memory applications, radio- and microwave frequency spectrum analyses, and laser radar (ladar) signal processing. In 2005, S2 Corporation (S2) was spun off from SMC, and is now developing an MDA Advanced Systems Directorate-sponsored Spatial-Spectral material-based Radar Signal Processor (S2RSP) using these optical memory materials. The optical materialscrystalsallow radar systems to process complex radio-frequency waveforms at higher-bandwidths in real time, yielding more information about targets. These crystals comprise the core photonic element of radar-signal processors as intended for MDA applications, which is being tested for potential insertion in BMD radars.
|Development of a Laser Micromachining Process for the Fabrication of SiC Mirrors 7/17/2007|
Laser micromachining offers the ability to machine products with significant automation while also requiring less post processing and enabling machining that is impossible with conventional equipment. Mound Laser & Photonics Center (MLPC) is developing new techniques to use laser micromachining to produce objects such as mirrors and 3d parts for medical devices. The company is unique in its approach to commercialization, as it aims to make 50 percent of its revenue through commercial services.
|High Depth of Field MEMS Inspection (MEMS Inspection Device) 7/2/2007|
The CEO of Summit Imaging, Inc., founded a company called Salvador Imaging, Inc., to commercialize its advances in high-speed image processing, a scheme in which images are "pre-processed" as they come off a charge-coupled device (CCD), contributing to significant reduction of jitter, noise and timing issues that can plague high-speed imaging systems. Salvador Imaging continues to market and refine its wide range of cameras, some of which have provenance with BMDO/MDA (see BMD Origins).