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Micromachined Infrasound Sensors

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: SN80181
Agency Tracking Number: 218536
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 09a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001227
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-06-08
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-03-07
Small Business Information
3601 South Congress Avenue C-200
Austin, TX 78704-7250
United States
DUNS: 808319839
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Neal Hall
 Dr.
 (512) 773-7684
 nahall@mail.utexas.edu
Business Contact
 Neal Hall
Title: Dr.
Phone: (512) 773-7684
Email: nahall@mail.utexas.edu
Research Institution
 University of Texas at Austin
 
P.O. Box 8058
Austin, TX 78712
United States

 () -
 Nonprofit College or University
Abstract

The Ground-based Nuclear Detonation Detection Research and Development office seeks advanced technology for the monitoring of explosion events using infrasonic signatures. In this STTR, Silicon Audio, Inc. and The University of Texas at Austin will team together to develop an advanced microelectromechanical-system MEMS) based piezoelectric infrasonic-sensor technology. The sensor will aim to exceed all of the threshold specifications important for explosion and treaty-monitoring applications, while at the same time focusing on robustness against wind noise so that ultimately a compact sensor system may be realized. The developed sensor will be ideal for large distributed arrays, which have potential advantages in some scenarios including ease of installation, portability, and versatility with respect to enabling innovative data-processing. In Phase I, we aim to develop a micromachined piezoelectric transducer node that has ultra-low noise, below 10-8 Pa2/Hz noise spectral density across the majority of the 0.01 10-Hz monitoring bandwidth. Highlights of the sensor construction include a unique wafer-bonding construction, and the integration of a mechanical-acoustical band-limiting filter prior to transduction. In Phase II, we aim to develop a digital version of the sensor node to interface with a telemetry system for a large-array demonstration. The commercial feasibility of a sound-intensity digital-sensor node will also be investigated in Phase II.

The proposed sensor development aims to make a contribution to the field of infrasonic monitoring by making commercially available an ultra-low-noise sensor element. The dominant benefit of the proposed work is increased public safety that results from accurately monitoring explosions and gathering intelligence regarding rogue testing activities. The sensor development will also benefit scientific applications, including the study of volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and various atmospheric phenomena.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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