Manufacturing of Large and Highly Transparent Aerogel Tiles with Refraction Indices up to 1.1 for Cherenkov Detectors
Department of Energy
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Small Business Information
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
30 Forbes Road, Bldg B, Northborough, MA, 01532
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractAerogels with low refractive index and high light transmittance are highly desirable for Cherenkov detectors. However, quality and scale of the manufactured aerogels have been the main challenge for scientists working in this field. Aspen Aerogels will develop a fabrication process to advance the state of the art by achieving a perfectly reproducible aerogel with high optical quality. The optimized process will afford large size fabrication of highly transparent aerogels, at low cost, for the high-energy physics community. During the Phase I program, Aspen will optimize a previously-developed fabrication process to produce aerogels having dimensions of 25 cm x 25 cm x 2 cm, transmittance over 82% at 400 nm and a tunable refraction index up to 1.100. Aerogel tiles of that size reduce the number of tiles needed by factor of 10, thus improving the accuracy of particle separation and detection. Furthermore, the number of Cherenkov radiation photons produced by the aerogel as a function of thickness and refraction indices of the aerogel tested with cosmic rays will also be determined. In Phase II, further development and optimization of aerogel tile production will be performed at a larger scale. Commercial Applications and other benefits: The ability to manufacture high quality monolithic aerogels will prove useful not only for Cherenkov detection but also for fenestration or window thermal insulation applications that would significantly save energy and protect the environment via lower energy consumption. Transparent aerogels will find use in the Building and Construction market as insulated translucent building panels
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