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Advanced Water Sensor for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Award Information

Department of Energy
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
1997 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco St. Suite E-11 Santa Fe, NM 87505-3993
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: Yes
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 1997
Title: Advanced Water Sensor for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Agency: DOE
Contract: DE-FG03-96ER82278
Award Amount: $750,000.00


40444 November 18, 1996 Southwest Sciences, Inc. Increasing energy consumption and environmental degradation may contribute to deleterious changes in the radiative balance and chemical composition of the atmosphere. The quantitative measurement of water vapor in the troposphere and lower stratosphere is crucial for the study of meteorological and climatic phenomena. This project will develop a compact, rugged, diode laser-based sensor to accurately measure water vapor in these regions using unmanned aircraft. The planned instrument detects water vapor concentrations using optical spectroscopy with a near-infrared diode laser operating at 1393 nm. Response times will be better than one second. In Phase I, experiments will demonstrate the feasibility of this system for detecting water vapor accurately and rapidly over a nearly million-fold range of concentrations. Phase II will culminate in the delivery of a fully-automated commercial prototype hygrometer for unmanned airborne applications. Anticipated Results/Potential Commercial Applications as described by the awardee: Compact, rugged airborne humidity sensors have commercial potential for atmospheric research of trace gas species, aircraft hazard monitoring, and semiconductor gas purity measurements. These trace methods also can be adapted to a monitor a wide variety of other gases. Applications include continuous monitoring of chemical processes, open path monitoring of environmentally important gases, and on-line purity determination of process gases.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Joel A. Silver
Principal Research Scientist

Business Contact:

Dr. Alan C. Stanton
Small Business Information at Submission:

Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco Street Suite E-11 Santa Fe, NM 87505

Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No