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Optical Remote Detection of Low Level Earth Surface Vibrations

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2014 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Spectral Sciences, Inc.
4 Fourth Avenue Burlington, MA 01803-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2014
Title: Optical Remote Detection of Low Level Earth Surface Vibrations
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA9453-14-C-0065
Award Amount: $741,049.00


ABSTRACT: Underground facilities can be used by rogue governments to conceal command-and-control and to manufacture weapons of mass destruction, and are an increasingly important operational challenge to U.S. military forces. Our objective is to determine improved methods of detection essential to address this critical intelligence need. Activity below the ground causes seismic surface waves that propagate outward, which may be imaged from a satellite, UAV, or aircraft equipped with appropriate combination of hardware and detection software. Spectral Sciences, Inc. has an established history in small signal detection and motion mitigation in the remote detection of minute signals. Our University of Louisville partners are leaders in state-of-the-art research this area. In Phase I, we successfully demonstrated optical detection technology in the laboratory, developed a space platform simulation model, and established an initial set of satellite system specifications. In Phase II, we will construct, test, and field demonstrate a second generation hardware and software system to image ground surface vibrations, to assemble satellite relevant data, and to advance the state-of-the-art in detection. The hardware, data analysis, scene simulation, and trade study software delivered in this work has commercial use in intelligence gathering, aircraft flaw detection, and building evaluation. BENEFIT: A functional second generation seismic surface wave detection system will provide activity as a new dimension to space, UAV, or special operations surveillance. There are additional DoD applications for both detection hardware and software, for example for detecting surface vibration effects for flaw detection in aircraft airframes, detecting surface vibration effects caused by flaws in bonding, rivets, metal fatigue, and operational damage. This approach can provide an overall airframe surface vibrational measurement for the emerging NASA/Air Force Airframe Digital Twin concept. We have demonstrated feasibility to detect composite airframe heat damage with a related system which will benefit from this work. This technique would open a new dimension for evaluation of building stability following an earthquake, by providing an image of global building surface vibration, and likewise a new dimension in testing of final building designs. The resulting detection system would be useful in evaluating the dynamics of tall buildings, with no additional sensors needed.

Principal Investigator:

Frank O. Clark
Fellow Scientist
(781) 273-4770

Business Contact:

Robert Sundberg
(781) 273-4770
Small Business Information at Submission:

Spectral Sciences, Inc.
4 Fourth Avenue Burlington, MA -

EIN/Tax ID: 042718570
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
University of Louisville
Department of Physics and Astr
2301 S Third St
Louisville, KY 40202-0001
Contact: John Kielkopf
Contact Phone: (502) 852-2597