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Liquid Crystal-based Sensors for Detection of Airborne Toxic Chemicals for…

Award Information

Department of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2013 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Platypus Technologies, LLC
5520 Nobel Drive Suite 100 MADISON, WI -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2013
Title: Liquid Crystal-based Sensors for Detection of Airborne Toxic Chemicals for Integration with Unmanned Robotic Systems
Agency / Branch: DOD / ARMY
Contract: W911NF-13-P-0030
Award Amount: $149,998.00


We aim to develop lightweight and rugged liquid crystal (LC)-based sensors suitable for integration into small unmanned vehicles, including hand-launched UAVs and throwable robots. For Phase I proof of concept, we propose to develop sensors that detect DMMP, H2S, NO2 and NH3. These gases include simulants of chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, selected for their relevance to DoD and civilian security. The sensors will be fabricated and tested through a collaboration between Platypus Technologies LLC and University of Wisconsin. We will (i) optimize the design of chemically functionalized surfaces to enable sensitive LC-based detection of the target gases; (ii) perform infrared spectroscopy to advance our understanding of the intermolecular interactions that underlie the response of the LC sensors to the targeted gases, so that we will be better able to design further improvements and broader detection capabilities in Phase II; and (iii) design and fabricate simple microstructures that host LCs in a manner suitable for fabrication of LC sensors for deployment in small UMVs. Benefits of these sensors include their robustness and uniquely low power and weight parameters, which facilitate their use in small UMVs. Commercial applications extend to civilian markets such as monitoring gas pipelines, wells, mines.

Principal Investigator:

Bharat R. Acharya
Director of Sensor Development
(608) 237-1270

Business Contact:

Timothy G. Burland
(608) 237-1274
Small Business Information at Submission:

5520 Nobel Drive Suite 100 Madison, WI 53711-4910

EIN/Tax ID: 391992935
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
21 N. Park St., Suite 6401
Madison, WI 53707-1218
Contact: Nicholas Novak
Contact Phone: (608) 262-3822