Liquid Crystal-based Sensors for Detection of Airborne Toxic Chemicals for Integration with Unmanned Robotic Systems

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W911NF-13-P-0030
Agency Tracking Number: A13A-004-0268
Amount: $149,998.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2013
Solicitation Topic Code: A13A-T004
Solicitation Number: 2013.A
Small Business Information
PLATYPUS TECHNOLOGIES, LLC
5520 Nobel Drive, Suite 100, Madison, WI, 53711-4910
DUNS: 118040364
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Bharat Acharya
 Director of Sensor Development
 (608) 237-1270
 bacharya@platypustech.com
Business Contact
 Timothy Burland
Title: COO
Phone: (608) 237-1274
Email: tburland@platypustech.com
Research Institution
 University of Wisconsin-Madison
 Nicholas Novak
 21 N. Park St., Suite 6401
Madison, WI, 53707-1218
 (608) 262-3822
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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