Optical Remote Detection of Low Level Earth Surface Vibrations

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Spectral Sciences, Inc.
4 Fourth Avenue, Burlington, MA, 01803-3304
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Frank Clark
Fellow Scientist
(781) 273-4770
Business Contact:
Robert Sundberg
(781) 273-4770
Research Institution:
University of Louisville
Prof. John Kielkopf
Department of Physics and Astr
2301 S Third St
Louisville, KY, 40202-0001
(502) 852-2597
Nonprofit college or university
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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