---------- DARPA ----------

31 Phase I Selections from the 10.1 Solicitation

(In Topic Number Order)
Active Signal Technologies, Inc.
611-Q Hammonds Ferry Road
Linthicum, MD 21090
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(410) 636-9350
Keith Bridger
NIH10-001      Awarded:9/1/2011
Title:Novel and Electro-Hydrostatic Actuation for Robotic Applications
Abstract:Hydraulic actuation is particularly attractive for robotics because it is mature, robust, high speed and offers inherently high power and force densities. However, its implementation in this field has been relatively restrained because of size (central pumps, actuators and fluid distribution networks), leakage, complex control dynamics and cost. The team of Active Signal Technologies (AST), Cornell University and Moog intends to address these shortcomings with a novel approach to electrohydrostatic actuation (EHA) featuring a compact central pump and smaller distributed pumps in order to optimize system efficiency, weight and size. Current EHA technology as employed on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter provides all-electric power across a heavy copper bus to relatively large actuators integrated with local hydraulic pumps. The hybrid system proposed here for robotics will employ lower fluid pressure and alternative fluids such as water to maximize the use of plastic and lightweight composite parts (such as PMMA/PDMS sandwich structures) in actuator construction, and will parse actuation tasks between its central and local power units. System simulations run by Cornell in Phase I will quantify the pressure and power requirements. The challenge for hydraulics in the field of mobile robots is to achieve reciprocating motion for pumps and valves at the meso scale because there is a performance gap in available technology in the middle-range between solid state actuation (small, high frequency, high force and low displacement) and linear motors (large, lower frequency and force, and high displacement). The heart of the proposed new system is a revolutionary electromagnetic driver that powers the piston of the pump. Instead of a conventional solenoid configuration where the induced magnetic field produces a highly nonlinear mono-directional force on the core, or the linear stepper motor with its alternately attracting and repelling shear forces, the novel AST driver takes advantage of additive push-pull forces in-line with the motion. The resultant compact device which will be prototyped in Phase I has very high force per unit of moving mass, is fully reversible and generates high work output by virtue of relatively high forces at all points in the travel. It also scales readily in the dimension range between central (~0.15m) and remote (~0.05m) pumps. A number of ways to minimize pump noise will be investigated including passive damping via plastic construction materials, gas-charged accumulators and absorber elements at the end walls of the cylinder. Design of the hydraulic actuators themselves will build upon an extensive body of work conducted at Cornell’s Laboratory for Intelligent Machine Systems (LIMS). This will include new hydraulically driven McKibben-type artificial muscle and use of biomimetic hydraulic valving schemes to enable the phenomenon of ‘dangle’ which will allow a robotic limb to transition smoothly to swaying to preserve momentum or respond passively to external loads.

MEKA ROBOTICS, INC.
1240 Pennsylvania
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(415) 206-0131
Aaron Edsinger
NIH10-001      Awarded:9/1/2011
Title:Better Than Biology Actuators
Abstract:Robots deployed by the DoD, in industry, and in consumer devices increasingly require the ability to perform safely and effectively around humans. In many task scenarios, it is desirable for a robot and human to work cooperatively together. For example, a human-robot team could unload a cargo container of rations, assist a person from the ground to a stretcher, or jointly assemble devices on a manufacturing line. A critical technology required to enable these scenarios is a lightweight robot actuator with high performance force sensing and control. Such an actuator should meet or exceed the efficacy of human muscle. It should exhibit a low minimum stiffness and low stored energy to enable safety around humans. Finally, to enable commercial viability the primary technology must be low cost and straightforward to fabricate. Meka Robotics, in collaboration with the Stanford Robotics Laboratory and SRI International, is pleased to propose a novel method for robot actuation. The proposed technology is low-cost, efficient, lightweight, and capable of human-level force density, high-bandwidth force control, and safe operation around humans. The electric motor actuator has three key technologies: 1) A novel rotary-to-linear transmission that is durable, lowcost, and lightweight, 2) a small and a large motor acting in parallel to achieve high bandwidth force output, and 3) use of a novel high power density electric motor technology. This novel design overcomes traditional safety limitations of joint torque control and the performance limitations of compliant actuators. In our design, two actuators are connected in parallel. Torque generation is partitioned into low and high frequency components. The smaller actuator produces low torques at high frequencies to provide disturbance rejection and high-performance dynamic control. The larger actuator provides large forces at low frequencies to offset static loads such as gravity. We propose in Phase I to accomplish: 1) modeling and simulation of the actuator, 2) performance comparison to human muscle, 3) a preliminary mechatronic design including specification of

VECNA TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
36 Cambridgepark Drive
Cambridge, MA 02140
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(617) 864-0636
Daniel Theobald
NIH10-001      Awarded:9/1/2011
Title:ROBOTICS TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND DEPLOYMENT[RTD2] (R43)
Abstract:Mobile robotics and advanced prosthetics will likely play important roles in the future of the human race. Yet, most existing mobile robots have neither the strength nor speed necessary to be effective laborers. The problem is that current robot muscles suffer from poor specific power, which can be thought of as the muscle’s strength × speed/weight. The specific power of a muscle determines how quickly work can be done compared to another muscle of the same weight. A novel hydraulic muscle or “actuator” is presented in this proposal. Preliminary work shows that its specific power far exceeds that of existing actuators suitable for use in mobile robotics, while simultaneously achieving “Better than Biology” results in the other key metrics. While conventional hydraulics technology suffers from poor efficiency, noisy operation, high cost, and maintenance challenges, recent work at Vecna is showing that these challenges can be overcome. An early prototype actuator has been built and tested; this prototype shows great promise for exceeding the performance of biological muscle. Additionally, it will be highly scalable, inexpensive, efficient, silent, low cost, and easy to maintain due to its unique design. The main focus of this research will be on design and testing of a series of prototype actuators based on mathematical analysis, simulation, materials selection, and analysis of manufacturing approaches. Preliminary control policies will be developed. Each design will be evaluated against the performance metrics of in situ natural muscle as described in existing literature. They will also be compared to the performance of competing man-made actuators. As the human race begins to work in close collaboration with robots, they will expect the robots to be stronger, faster, have better endurance, be more precise, and cost less than other options. They will expect robots to quickly and efficiently carry out their assigned physical labors. Vecna hopes to contribute to the realization of this goal through the creation of high-performance artificial muscles that will be practical for use in mobile robotics and prosthetics. Better

ALD NanoSolutions, Inc.
580 Burbank St., Unit 100
Broomfield, CO 80020
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(303) 318-4145
Markus Groner
SB101-001      Awarded:5/15/2010
Title:Flexible Gas Diffusion Barriers Using ALD/MLD Multilayers and Roll-to-Roll Processing
Abstract:ALD NanoSolutions, Inc. will develop flexible gas diffusion barriers for polymer substrates that will enable flexible electronic devices such as flexible OLEDs and thin film photovoltaics. The multilayer barriers films will consist of nanometer thick, flexible inorganic and organic layers formed using atomic layer deposition (ALD) and molecular layer deposition (MLD) techniques. Al2O3 ALD films which have previously demonstrated excellent barrier properties will be interspersed with thin, flexible polymeric MLD layers to create flexible ultrabarriers. These ALD/MLD barriers will be fabricated and tested for their water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) using the Calcium test. The flexibility of the ALD/MLD multilayers will be characterized by measuring the critical strain for multilayer film cracking. This novel approach can produce barrier films meeting the Phase I targets of <1x10-3 g/m2/day WVTR and 2% strain. In order to commercialize these ALD/MLD multilayer barriers, the proposed work will also develop roll-to-roll ALD processing. The initial proof- of-concept investigations will characterize prototype atmospheric ALD process equipment to deposit ALD films on a rigid, moving substrate. Subsequent work will expand the capabilities of the process equipment to deposit multiple ALD cycles as a flexible substrate moves past the ALD coating head.

Cambridge NanoTech, Inc.
68 Rogers St.
Cambridge, MA 02142
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(617) 674-8811
Mark Sowa
SB101-001      Awarded:6/1/2010
Title:ALD for H2O and O2 Barriers for Flexible OLEDs
Abstract:Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) has been widely studied for water permeation barriers for flexible OLED displays. Inorganic films of approximately 100nm have been demonstrated to reduce the water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) to 6e-7 g/m^2/d at room temperature. However, these films crack at less than 2% strain. Inorganic ALD films cannot withstand the required 5% strain until their thickness is reduced to 5nm at which point the WVTR becomes unacceptably high. Hybrid inorganic/organic ALD films have demonstrated enhanced strain resilence but few chemistries have thus far been studied, and their optimized WVTR and mechanical flexibility have yet to be determined. We propose to investigate several classes of new precursor chemicals to generate hybrid inorganic/organic films to assess their applicability for encapsulating flexible OLED displays. Once the best chemistry has been identified and optimized, we will leverage our companies history of successful scaling to commercial manufacturing of ALD processes.

Sundew Technologies, LLC
3400 Industrial Lane Unit 7
Broomfield, CO 80020
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(303) 466-2341
Ofer Sneh
SB101-001      Awarded:6/1/2010
Title:Development of Robust, Effective, Inexpensive, Flexible Water and Oxygen Barriers for Flexible Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (FOLEDs)
Abstract:This Phase I SBIR project deploys Atomic Layer Deposition based thin film encapsulation for environmentally durable Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (FOLED) displays. Particular challenges include extremely low Water Vapor Transmission Rates (WVTR) and Oxygen Transmission rates (OTR), high yield, stress and strain endurance, high transparency and low cost. FOLED displays versatility and prospects for superior durability captured a vast interest in the military and commercial markets. Current protection techniques usually compromise the flexibility of OLEDs by using sealing techniques that involve rigid substrates such as glass. Atomic Layer Deposition encapsulating films (ALD- Cap) are flexible ceramic films, with exceptional conformality, adherence and mechanical strength. Developed originally as a low-cost environmental protection and corrosion barrier alternative to hermetic packaging, ALD-Cap was successfully used to provide hermetic-like protection of mission critical electronics and to contain tin-whiskers as well as similar commercial applications. The phase I effort will focus on the optimization of ALD cap materials, structures and manufacturing techniques, as well as the integration with FOLED.

21st Century Technologies Inc.
4515 Seton Center Parkway Suite 320
Austin, TX 78759
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(512) 342-0010
Ann Vanderlaan
SB101-002      Awarded:8/30/2010
Title:AURA – Ascertaining Un-Reported Affect
Abstract:Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) functions as virtual tutors that adapt to student responses. Such ITSs, however, do not yield student learning improvements equivalent to students tutored by human instructors. Ascertaining Un-Reported Affect (AURA) is a closed-loop, platform-independent “front-end” for informing ITSs with near real-time inferences of student engagement and affect during learning sessions to further improve student learning and minimize student frustration. AURA leverages low-cost, non-invasive sensors to monitor students without disrupting their learning experience. Such an approach enables the large-scale deployment of AURA to students using ITSs. The key innovation in AURA is the ability to serve as a modular component that informs an ITS of changes in a student’s emotional or physical state that can affect the learning process by leveraging audio, video, text, and user interface feedback. AURA Phase I includes preliminary experiments to demonstrate the feasibility of the approach, and concludes with the specification of a design for an Engineering prototype. AURA leverages 21st Century Technologies expertise developing systems for the military in speech and audio processing, modeling multiple-actor interactions in a decision space using Bayesian networks, and creating machine learning algorithms.

UtopiaCompression, Corporation
11150 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite 680
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(310) 473-1500
Xiaoqing Liu
SB101-002      Awarded:6/1/2010
Title:SENSEI – Sensing Emotion Non-invasively for Software-based Educational Instruction
Abstract:DARPA and DOD often make use of electronic tutoring systems for administering additional training and ongoing education to their employees, creating an intimate one-on-one environment between the student and the electronic tutor. Unfortunately, even the most modern of these electronic tutors is unable to capture the emotional state of the student and thus cannot react to the student’s changing behavior. It has been shown that the most effective learning occurs when the instructor engages the student according to their current emotional state, and to that end UtopiaCompression (UC) is proposing a multi-modal intelligent tutoring system (ITS) that is capable of estimating the student’s emotional state using a number of external cues. UC’s proposed solution combines verbal, facial, and body posture cues through a novel probabilistic framework to accurately estimate the emotional state of the student. UC is also proposing a self-calibration procedure that tailors the system to the mannerisms of each specific student. The proposed technology can be deployed on platforms with a wide array of hardware capabilities. UC’s ITS will vastly improve the effectiveness of DARPA’s educational programs through accurate and efficient sensing of the student’s emotion, thus tailoring its program for the most interactive, lifelike experience possible.

Physical Optics Corporation
Applied Technologies Division 20600 Gramercy Place, Bldg. 100
Torrance, CA 90501
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(310) 320-3088
Vladimir Esterkin
SB101-003      Awarded:5/15/2010
Title:Easy-Cooling Hypothermia Device
Abstract:To address DARPA need for a combat-deployable hypothermia device, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Easy-Cooling Hypothermia (EZ-COOL) Device based on a unique feedback mechanism and microfluidic heat-exchanger technology. The innovation in EZ-COOL will enable the device to support first-aid responders’ effort to quickly determine the most likely treatment regime, and to render medical care even in doctor’s absence. As a result, EZ-COOL is compact (8 in. x 6 in. x 4 in.), lightweight (8 lb), and capable of maintaining the required cortical temperature (33-37 deg C) with a high accuracy of +/-0.01 deg C. A real-time feedback system allows EZ-COOL to effectively deliver treatment that is difficult to achieve in current systems. Not requiring consumables or replenishment, EZ-COOL is highly suitable for combat-deployment because it provides 6 hours of continuous operation on battery (while evacuating the wounded soldier) and can continue operating on AC power. In Phase I, POC will demonstrate device feasibility and plan animal and human subjects studies. We will determine a calibration method to account for variability in injury types, locations, and individual neurophysiology. At the end of Phase II, EZ-COOL will reach technology readiness level (TRL) 5, ready for preclinical/clinical testing.

Spectral Sciences, Inc.
4 Fourth Avenue
Burlington, MA 01803
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(781) 273-4770
Pajo Vujkovic-Cvijin
SB101-003      Awarded:6/25/2010
Title:Development of a Closed Loop Brain Cooling System
Abstract:A team consisting of Spectral Sciences Inc., BeneChill Corporation, Columbia University, Temple University and Brighton Consulting will develop a field-deployable cooling system—with unique brain-temperature monitoring—to induce hypothermia to patients with traumatic brain injury, particularly to wounded soldiers on the battlefield. The cooling technology is a highly efficient intranasal cooling technique that delivers chilling spray into the naso-pharynx. This system has demonstrated the fastest rate of brain cooling among competing methods, and is man-portable. To achieve programmable, closed-loop-controlled operation that can be used to tailor cooling and re-warming profiles to actual brain temperature, we propose to develop a novel, all-optical, non-invasive sensing system for brain temperature monitoring that will rely on highly accurate water-absorbance spectral measurements provided by derivative laser spectroscopy using tunable laser technology developed at Spectral Sciences. In Phase I and Phase I Option, a feasibility prototype will be built to demonstrate the operation of the critical sensor technology for closed-loop control, thereby removing the bulk of the development risk. In Phase II, a validation prototype of the complete closed-loop cooling system will be developed, tested in animal and human models, and delivered to DARPA.

Physical Optics Corporation
Information Technologies Division 20600 Gramercy Place, Bldg. 100
Torrance, CA 90501
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(310) 320-3088
Andrew Kostrzewski
SB101-004      Awarded:6/1/2010
Title:Super Resolution Image Stabilized Video System with 3D Extension
Abstract:To address the DARPA need for a system that significantly improves quality and content of video obtained from small UAVs and performs on-the-fly 3D scene model generation, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Super-resolution Image- Stabilized (3D-SIS) system with a 3D scene modeling option. This proposed device is based on new electronically steerable field-of-view optics and new computationally efficient image stabilization and super-resolution algorithms. The innovation in design of electro- optical steerable optics without mechanical displacements, high-quality video compression, and simple but efficient image enhancement algorithms will produce high-quality video by eliminating motion blur, improving image resolution, and signal-to-noise ratio, and providing on-the-fly 3D scene modeling. As a result, this system offers subpixel image stabilization despite +/-20 deg. pitch-yaw-roll movements and motion blur along the flight direction, resolution four times higher than image sensors have, and 60x70x50 mm size, 425 g weight, and 1.05 W power consumption, which makes the system acceptable for applications in small UAVs. In Phase I, POC will demonstrate the feasibility of 3D-SIS system by laboratory prototyping and evaluation of image enhancement algorithms. In Phase II, POC plans to develop full-scale system prototype and demonstrate its performance on a small UAV.

Charles River Analytics Inc.
625 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(617) 491-3474
Jonathan Pfautz
SB101-005      Awarded:5/15/2010
Title:Tool to Improve Collaboration between Operators and Reachback Analysts (TICORA)
Abstract:Modern full-spectrum operations require that military decision-makers possess an understanding of the human social, cultural, and behavioral (HSCB) dynamics of a region so they can plan effective courses of action (COAs). To ensure that COAs are congruent with the HSCB aspects of an intended audience while effectively achieving military objectives, decision-makers need to engage expert analysts to fill gaps in their own expertise, experience, and knowledge. However, there are a number of challenges in supporting this kind of reachback. As a result of our work deploying analytic software to the Psychological Operations community, we have substantial first-hand experience in understanding these issues as they relate to tactical PSYOP Operators who need to gain additional reachback insight from the expert analysts of the Department of State’s Strategic Studies Detachment (SSD). We propose to demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of a Tool to Improve Collaboration between Operators and Reachback Analysts (TICORA). Our approach includes a work domain analysis to understand the issues that affect decision-makers and analysts; the use of our novel Causal Influence Modeling technique for allowing decision- makers to create subjective representations of the tactical environment; and other assisting components.

Fetch Technologies
841 Apollo Street Suite 400
El Segundo, CA 90245
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(310) 414-9849
Sofus Macskassy
SB101-005      Awarded:5/14/2010
Title:GroupPulse - Monitoring and Tracking Group Dynamics in Online Social Media
Abstract:The past decade has seen an explosion in online social media, such as blogs, forums, twitter, and so forth. This online information can give us insights into groups and communities--what are their "hot button" issues, how are they responding to current events, and how are they likely to react in the future. With the advance and proliferation of technology, online groups and communities now include populations of high importance to the U.S. military planners, such as students in Iran, social conservatives in Saudia Arabia, and housewives in Egypt -- all sorts of groups throughout the Middle East. Currently, there is a great deal of information in social media that could be exploited for the benefit of military planners, but it is infeasible to monitor social media channels and provide simple, realtime assessment, analysis and predictive capabilities. This is the problem which we address in this proposal.

Kitware
28 Corporate Drive
Clifton Park, NY 12065
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(518) 371-3971
Jeffrey Baumes
SB101-006      Awarded:5/15/2010
Title:An Open, Adaptive Geospatial Visual Information System
Abstract:The military has an increasing amount and variety of data sources collected using state-of- the-art technologies. Further, there is rapid proliferation of handheld devices, meaning that every soldier may become a sensor and require access to the information stream. Such a rich information environment holds the potential to vastly increase the safety and effectiveness of missions. However, due to the complexity and size of data, and the limited bandwidth on many display devices, the ability to visualize and understand information is problematic. In the work proposed here, we will develop a system that will adapt to device, network, and user capabilities to allow for effective knowledge dissemination. The multi-tiered approach will enable virtually any device with a web browser to obtain relevant information, even devices with very low capacities. In addition, hardware with sufficient graphics resources, such as current generation mobile devices, may access more advanced visualizations and interactions. The work will be based on existing technology used in the popular Visualization Toolkit VTK and ParaView parallel visualization system. In the proposed option, we plan to expand base functionalities to include adaptive, collaborative visualization.

Physical Optics Corporation
Electro-Optics Systems Division 20600 Gramercy Place, Bldg. 100
Torrance, CA 90501
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(310) 320-3088
Jason Holmstedt
SB101-006      Awarded:5/15/2010
Title:Adaptive Data Visualization and Optimally Relevant Interface System
Abstract:To address the DARPA Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) need for solutions that enable on-the-fly geospatial visualization on devices and systems with disparate display resolutions and connection bandwidths, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Adaptive Data Visualization and Optimally Relevant Interface (ADVISOR) system based on a new method of visualization that adapts to user- level preferences and circumstances and is automatically optimized for the device displaying the content. The unique integration of adaptive visualization software based on open standards and human factors considerations along with existing devices offers the user adaptive visualization on a variety of devices having resolution differences of >10x and bandwidth constraints of >10x, ADVISOR directly addresses the DARPA ITPO requirements for adaptive visualization on a variety of devices and can support streaming video (e.g., H.264), geospatially tagged documents, event/object icons such as battle command graphics (e.g., FBCB2), and compressed imagery, all with associated metadata. In Phase I, POC will demonstrate the feasibility of the ADVISOR system by developing a proof-of-concept system that provides adaptive visualization of data registered to a 2D/3D geospatial database. In Phase II, POC plans to assemble, test, and demonstrate a fully automated system with interoperability on a variety of devices.

Stottler Henke Associates, Inc.
951 Mariner
San Mateo, CA 94404
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(206) 545-1478
Terrance Goan
SB101-006      Awarded:5/15/2010
Title:Supporting Context-Based Visualization of Relevant Geospatial Data on Constrained Devices
Abstract:We propose to address the growing challenge of information overload in network-centric information systems through the development of an agent-based framework that improves the warfighter’s awareness of critical information. In particular, we propose to enable adaptive information visualization in two ways: (1) exploiting simple profiles of the user’s context to support intelligent discovery and relevance filtering of both geospatially tagged data and data with an unstructured geospatial component; and (2) employing a “fire and forget” server- side agent to reduce the demand on potentially constrained client devices operating under less than ideal network conditions. We also propose to utilize the context and existing workflow of the warfighter to adapt the visualization, and streamline user interfaces to support the need to markup and provide feedback on this data. By exploiting the unique characteristics of geospatial data and task domain knowledge, our proposed system, Milieu, will provide a much better fit to the capabilities and requirements of the warfighter than general purpose information visualization technologies can. Phase I will prove the feasibility of our overall approach by evaluating the proposed capabilities with the construction of a limited prototype.

Adventium Enterprises, LLC
111 Third Ave. S., Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(651) 442-4109
Mark Boddy
SB101-007      Awarded:6/1/2010
Title:Ground Guidance ISK Integration (G2I2)
Abstract:This Phase 1 SBIR project will establish the technical and commercial benefits of using previous task executions to augment model-based route planning for military applications. On this project, we will integrate a prototype route planner using ``Implicit Semantic Knowledge'' (ISK) derived from previous executions, with an existing model-based route planner, called ``Ground Guidance.'' Model-based planners have a hard time dealing with dynamic information such as weather, traffic patterns, construction or battle damage, and the location of recent attacks or threats. Some terrain features, for example fences, or paths through mountainous areas, may not appear in a model-based system at all, at least not until they are reported from the field, because they are not visible in remote sensing information such as aerial imagery. ISK exploits the insight that these domain features will be necessarily reflected in executed routes. Our integration target is a best-in-class route planning system for military applications, currently being integrated into numerous military command and control systems, including MTS, Land Warrior, and FBCB2. In addition to being a good technical fit for the ISK approach, this integration provides a clear path to commercialization and deployment.

Aurrion LLC
5385 Hollister Ave.
Santa Barbara, CA 93111
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(805) 683-0425
Greg Fish
SB101-008      Awarded:8/1/2010
Title:High-Power High-Linearity High-Speed Photodetection Modules
Abstract:Optical links are very attractive for application in antenna systems due to their low loss, lightweight flexible cabling, immunity to electromagnetic interference, broad bandwidth, and overall ability to remote antennas over distances not possible with conventional electronic approaches. The main limitation in realizing this goal are the linearity and power handling of the optical components required to take advantage of the aforementioned features of optical fiber based links. This proposal specifically is intended to develop photodetectors to address this issue. To accomplish this, we will use state of the art high power photodetector designs combined with a novel Photonic Integration Circuit fabrication technology that enable multiple semiconductor materials to participate in the photonic circuit without the need for lattice matching or regrowth. This technology fundamentally reduces the tradeoffs in optimizing the thermal, electrical, and optical performance found in conventional PIC designs, yet it remains wafer scale, retaining the precision and volume scalability of such manufacturing processes. To harness the advantages of photonic solutions while retaining the SWaP performance of integrated circuits, the goal of this project is to design a chip scale, photonic integrated high-power high-speed photodetectors on a high performance, low cost platform based upon silicon photonics.

Discovery Semiconductors, Inc.
119 Silvia Street
Ewing, NJ 08628
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(609) 434-1311
Abhay Joshi
SB101-008      Awarded:6/1/2010
Title:High Power, Highly Linear Photodiode Arrays with Integrated RF Power Combiner for 2 - 20 GHz Applications
Abstract:We propose to develop high-power, highly linear photodiodes having the following specifications at 1550 nm wavelength per photodiode: (1) 3 dB bandwidth > 20 GHz, (2) DC photocurrent > 200 mA, (3) maximum RF output power > 1 W, (4) two-tone OIP3 > 55 dBm, and (5) power-to-phase conversion factor < 3 rad/W. In conjunction with the significant advances in the state-of-the-art in individual photodiode performance, as mentioned above, we will demonstrate further ~ 6 dB enhancement in maximum RF output power and OIP3 by combining the RF outputs of an array of the proposed photodiodes with a RF Wilkinson combiner.

Physical Optics Corporation
Photonic Systems Division 20600 Gramercy Place, Bldg. 100
Torrance, CA 90501
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(310) 320-3088
Victor Grubsky
SB101-009      Awarded:6/1/2010
Title:Miniature UV Sources for Imaging Applications
Abstract:To address DARPA’s need for a miniature, high-power UV source with a below-300-nm wavelength, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Miniature Pulsed Ultraviolet Source (MIPUS). This proposed device is based on a new high-power, compact solid-state (SS) laser design that uses in-house developed technologies and COTS components. The innovation in the novel laser medium is amenable to high-power operation, and the new cavity design will enable the MIPUS UV source to achieve the performance of much larger laser systems in a package with dimensions as small as 1 in. x 0.5 in. x 0.5 in. As a result, this MIPUS technology offers pulse output with a 1–10-kHz repetition rate, 1–5-ns pulse duration, and up-to-0.5-mJ pulse energy, directly addressing DARPA’s requirements. In Phase I, POC will demonstrate the feasibility of the MIPUS UV Source by performing system analysis and preliminary design, and fabricating and testing a tabletop prototype UV source with TRL 4. In Phase II, POC plans to develop a fully-functional, miniaturized pulsed UV laser source at TRL 6 that will satisfy all DARPA performance requirements.

Princeton Optronics, Inc.
1 Electronics Dr
Mercerville, NJ 08619
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(609) 584-9696
Robert Leeuwen
SB101-009      Awarded:5/25/2010
Title:Miniature UV Sources for Imaging Applications
Abstract:DARPA is interested in advanced laser technology for development of miniature UV 3D LIDARs. UV sources are preferred for seeing through many natural and man made obscurants. Princeton Optronics proposes to develop a miniature UV source at wavelength below 300nm by pumping a solid state laser gain medium with VCSEL array and frequency convert the laser beam to UV frequency. With this approach we propose to develop a very small package that will fit inside a telecom butterfly package with a wide range of power output levels. In phase I, we would demonstrate the feasibility of the concept through theory and experiments. In phase I, we would design the miniature UV laser which will be implemented in phase II.

Nico Technologies Corp.
401 W. Morgan Road,
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(734) 945-8131
Dr. Kelechi Anyaogu
SB101-010      Awarded:6/1/2010
Title:Non-Condensing Anti-Fog Hydrophobic Optical Coating
Abstract:Ultrahydrophobic coatings can provide an elegant solution to the anti-fogging problem that plagues current military optical systems. Biomimetic composite materials can offer realistic and permanent solution to the existing short-comings of current anti-fogging coatings. This proposal suggests realization of a biomimetic composite for anti-fogging films that: (1) are composed of an inorganic component that comprises the vast majority of the volume of the film, (2) contain an organic component that binds the inorganic components together, and (3) can be stacked via a laminating process thereby allowing the inorganic components to form a crossed-lamellar microarchitecture. The proposed coating coupons are expected to exhibit high performance in mechanical strength, robustness, optical clarity, and salt tolerance. To satisfy these requirements we will take advantage of layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly, which has been developed over the past several years by personnel of Nico Technologies Corp., for instance, for the assembly of clay nanocomposites. Films of clay platelets are of interest because of their high strength, superior environmental robustness, transparency, and excellent flexibility.

Physical Sciences Inc.
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(978) 689-0003
Yuliang Wang
SB101-010      Awarded:2/8/2010
Title:Bioinspired Novel Anti-Fog Coatings
Abstract:Many optical systems can be temporarily disabled due to fogging of the surface. While coatings and treatments exist to prevent fogging, they are either temporary or have intrinsic drawbacks. For example, traditional additive-based anti-fog coatings have a slow response time and suffer from a continuous loss of the additives during the product lifetime. Superhydrophilic anti-fog coatings developed recently can maintain optical transparency during condensation, but under high humid environments the excess amount of water accumulated on the surface can be problematic. Hydrophobic coatings, such as superhydrophobic coatings can repel large water droplets but can not prevent tiny water droplet attachment during fog condensation, which can cause light scattering and appear opaque. PSI proposes a bioinspired novel anti-fog solution that can avoid the disadvantages of the currently available anti-fog methods while retaining their advantages. When used on optical systems, the proposed coatings can maintain high optical transparency during condensation and at the same time be water-repellent. During Phase I, we will demonstrate a scalable and low-cost fabrication process to produce the proposed anti-fog coatings on optical components. The proposed coating will be permanent, salt-tolerant and is expected to surpass the performance of current anti-fog coatings or treatments.

TIAX LLC
15 Acorn Park
Cambridge, MA 02140
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(617) 498-5926
Dolly Batra
SB101-010      Awarded:7/22/2010
Title:Non-Condensing Anti-Fog Hydrophobic Optical Coating
Abstract:Fogging of optical components results in substantial reduction in image quality and light transmission, hindering the function of crucial military devices such as specialty eyewear, optical scopes and optical filters. Current solutions to creating an anti-fog surface often entail temporary solutions such as wiping the surface with surfactants or warming up the surface in a coat pocket before use. TIAX proposes to develop non-condensing superhydrophobic coatings which exhibit anti-fog properties without impacting the optical properties of the device. The proposed coatings will be durable and salt tolerant, and they can be produced using low-cost, scalable methods. These superhydrophobic anti-fog coatings will be a significant improvement over alternative hydrophilic coatings as they will not require constant exposure to circulating dry air in order to remove the water from a surface.

5-D Systems Inc.
1 Chisholm Trail, Suite 3200
Round Rock, TX 78681
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(512) 238-9840
Christof Hamm
SB101-011      Awarded:6/1/2010
Title:Software Architecture for Navigation Devices Enabling Flexible Addition of Aiding Sensors
Abstract:The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking a software architecture that allows new and advanced navigation sensors to be integrated with an existing navigation system. To demonstrate this technology, DARPA desires a design for a personal navigator leveraging this technology that is capable of providing a location fix with an accuracy of 10 meters 3D rms. This navigator needs to integrate a variety of sensors in order to operate for extended periods of time without a GPS coordinate update. 5-D Systems’ layered approach to both the software architecture and navigation filter, presented in this proposal, provides a framework that meets desire. Our approach develops a generic software architecture that facilitates the development of a personal navigator that can exploit the newest and best navigation sensors available, irrespective of their existence at the time of the navigation system’s design and deployment. Our novel approach uses a layered, two-tier navigation filter that enables the robust addition of new sensors and navigation approaches while operating in the absence of GPS for extended periods. Collectively, our team brings a unique mix of academic and industry experience integrating sensors for navigation and developing adaptable, sustainable software architectures for new and legacy systems.

Sigtem Technology, Inc.
1343 Parrott Drive
San Mateo, CA 94402
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(650) 312-1132
Chun Yang
SB101-011      Awarded:8/19/2010
Title:Plug and Play Navigation with Universal Interface for Aiding Sensors
Abstract:We propose to develop a universal interface for flexible integration of a variety of aiding sensors with an inertial navigator toward plug-and-play navigation. In this multi-sensor fusion approach, a self-contained inertial navigator operates as a core sensor, which is assisted by secondary aiding sensors that are based on external radio signals such as GNSS and SOOP and external observations such as features extracted from laser scanners and video cameras. These aiding measurements may or may not be available depending on a specific navigation mission and the operational environment. The proposed approach exploits a synchronized timing of asynchronous measurements packer (STAMP) and a reconfigurable integration filtering engine (RIFE) in order to accommodate the asynchronous nature of aiding sensors' independent operations. A flexible modular structure with numerically stable implementation, which is adaptive to the initial conditions, the sensor error models, and the number, type, quality, and timing of measurements, will be developed using a decentralized (federated) Schmidt-Kalman filter to process complementary multi- rate and possibly out of sequence measurements. It therefore permits, on the run, physical/logical addition/subtraction of new aiding sensors, adjustment/weighting of sensors according to measurement qualities or due to a failure or a change in operational conditions and environments, and optimal selection/scheduling of aiding sensors. In Phase I, we will design the proposed universal interface in terms of its physical layer (the STAMP hardware) and its abstract layer (the RIFE software) and evaluate its performance via computer simulation. In Phase I Option, we will create preliminary specs for hardware and recommend the system configuration and the implementation approach for Phase II prototyping and demo.

Toyon Research Corp.
6800 Cortona Drive
Goleta, CA 93117
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(805) 968-6787
Kenan Ezal
SB101-011      Awarded:5/26/2010
Title:System for Software-Defined Navigation(TM) (SDN(TM))
Abstract:An increasing number of civilian and military platforms rely on navigation systems. These systems usually comprise a centralized filter, which fuses measurements from a number of different sensors and does not include a “hot-swap” capability. Hence, it is not possible to reconfigure sensor modalities on-the-fly, and changes in the sensor mixture often require time consuming hardware and/or software modifications, thereby increasing development costs. Toyon Research Corporation is proposing a Software-Defined Navigation(TM) (SDN(TM)) architecture that will permit the adding and removing of sensors without any modifications to the navigation system. The navigation architecture will also support cooperative and distributed navigation and the sharing of map information. During the Phase I effort, Toyon will develop the SDN algorithms and prepare hardware and software interface control documents (ICDs) for the system. In addition, we will design and demonstrate an exemplary personal navigation system (PNS) that conforms to the proposed modular navigation architecture. The PNS will make use of a number of sensor modalities, and its performance will be evaluated for different sensor mixtures. We will conclude the Phase I program with a PNS hardware design that will be used for the Phase II demonstration.

MSNW LLC
8551 154th Ave NE
Redmond, WA 98052
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(425) 867-8900
David Kirtley
SB101-012      Awarded:5/15/2010
Title:High Specific Power Electric Propulsion
Abstract:A new thruster technology, the Electrodeless Lorentz Force (ELF) thruster, has been designed and tested at MSNW that has the capability to address the demanding combined requirements of high specific power, high efficiency, a large Isp range, and T/P in a single, lightweight device. The ELF thruster creates a high-density, magnetized plasma known as a Field Reversed Configuration using Rotating Magnetic Field formation. Coupled with an applied bias field gradient, the resulting JxB force accelerates the propellant to high velocity. The program goal of the ELF research was to characterize a thruster concept possessing the potential to surpass all current electric propulsion systems in efficiency, power, and operational variability. Based on current laboratory results, ELF would enable a range of high-power propulsion missions in the 10-100 kW class. The ELF thruster technology has been demonstrated to have a wide range of specific impulse (1,000-6,000) at high efficiency and operate on many propellants. Additionally, its pulsed nature inherently enables dramatic (expected up to 1000:1) power throttling while maintaining the optimal specific impulse, efficiency, and operational conditions. Proposed is a program to design, test, and optimize a highly-throttleable, full-scale 30-50 kW ELF thruster operating in a steady-state configuration.

QorTek, Inc.
1965 Lycoming Creek Road Suite 205
Williamsport, PA 17701
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(570) 322-2700
Gareth Knowles
SB101-013      Awarded:6/15/2010
Title:High Density Power Converter Electronics
Abstract:The proposed solid-state (non-magnetic) DC-DC converter technology offers the military a completely different approach to converters for ballistics weapon systems that has important advantages over conventional power conditioning for projectile weapons systems. We are proposing to translate this new technology all the way through to demonstrated fuze hardware that includes addressing both risk reduction and supplier stability through a disciplined Advanced Component Development and Prototypes (ACD&P) program with our Army prime contract partner. This will quickly lead to realization of affordable and reliable manufacture of voltage transform/high power handling solid-state power that would that can be ruggedly realized and very compactly packaged. The simplicity of the technology enables it to be rapidly matured as to enable Technology Readiness Assessment by DARPA/Army for key ballistics applications.

Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc.
1046 New Holland Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17601
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(717) 295-6061
Jens Weyant
SB101-014      Awarded:5/27/2010
Title:Strain-Tolerant Organic-Ceramic Coatings for the Passivation of Laser Diode
Abstract:This Small Business Innovative Research Phase I project will develop and demonstrate a passivation process that will result in a pin-hole free protective coating for nickel-gold (Ni/Au) plated copper micro-channel coolers (MCC) used for laser diode thermal management. This proposed approach will use atomic layer deposition (ALD) to deposit highly uniform ceramic thin films on commercially available MCCs. The ALD coating will provide corrosion resistance and erosion protection for the micro-channel, thereby increasing reliability. To increase the strain tolerance of the ceramic coating and eliminate any pinholesin the coating, the micro-channel surface will be pretreated with an organic self assembled monolayer (SAM). The SAM will provide an ideal surface for ALD bonding, improve uniformity by masking surface defects in the metal, and provide compliance for mismatch in thermal expansion coefficient. This innovative metal-organic-ceramic combination will allow Ni/Au-plated copper MCCs to transition from primarily laboratory use to an economical means of cooling commercial and military high power laser diode systems.

Eltron Research & Development, Inc.
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301
Phone:
PI:
Topic#:
(303) 530-0263
Joel Thompson
SB101-014      Awarded:6/1/2010
Title:Graded AlN/Al2O3 Precursor and Methods to Passivate Micro-Channel Coolers
Abstract:Commercially available micro-channel coolers for high power laser diodes utilize copper's high thermal conductivity and ability to be micro-machined. Unfortunately, these coolers suffer from flow erosion and corrosion by the cooling fluid. Copper's ability to conduct electrical charge furthers the corrosion process and requires the use of deionized water as the heat carrying fluid. These factors increase operation costs and can lead to failure of the laser. Eltron Research & Development Inc. proposes the use of a proprietary precursor and deposition method to coat the micro-channel coolers with a graded AlN/Al2O3 layer. This hard, chemically resistant layer maintains high thermal conductivity while providing an electrical insulating barrier to protect the copper core from corrosion. The coating will extend the life span of the unit as well as allow for the use of filtered tap water for the cooling fluid. This will lower the cost of the high power laser diode unit over its life span and help prevent laser failure caused by flow erosion and corrosion.