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October 19, 2017
Sparks, MD—The Brimrose Technology Corporation (BTC) has received major additional Sequential Phase II program funding for three critical SBIR/STTR programs aimed at protecting military personnel and first responders going into potentially hazardous areas.

The U.S. Army base at the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center (ECBC) at the Aberdeen Proving Ground has added significant funds to the programs for the purposes of developing better detectors to identify chemical and biological agents from a distance through Laser Induced Thermal Emissions (LITE), to do the same deploying Long Wavelength IR (LWIR) spectropolarimetry, and by using quantum dots to more fully develop low cost infrared cameras to help in this detection processes. The LITE program is an STTR, while the other two are SBIRs.

“The U.S. Army is constantly trying to improve the technology that will help our troops better understand the nature of the environments they are being exposed to,” said Dr. Sudhir Trivedi, BTC’s Director of R&D. “We believe the technology being developed will help our warfighters and first responders to do just that.”

Using Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) processes, Brimrose scientists have developed a newer process known as Laser Induced Thermal Emissions, or LITE, to identify molecular signatures as well as the constituents commonly associated with LIBS.

The plus-up focuses on the development of improved detectors to identify the molecules produced by laser pulses. The importance of this work cannot be overstated. For example, while LIBS might provide the operator in a potentially hazardous zone with the understanding that carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen atoms are present, which may be seem harmless, LITE can provide the ingredients that would show that toxic compounds are in the area composed of these elements.

The proposed LIBS/LITE program could also further improve the standoff distance at which instruments can identify such materials at up to 30m, which is important to the safety of those going into such hazardous areas, as well as improve the efficacy and ruggedness of the design.

The goal of the AOTF-based spectro-polarimetric imaging system program is also to detect chemicals at a distance in a hazardous zone using a long-wavelength IR (LWIR) hyperspectral spectro-polarimetric imaging sensor. The goal here also is to improve the sensor to provide for standoff distances of up to five km. BTC also believes there are significant commercial applications for this product in atmospheric remote sensing and medical diagnostic applications.

Regarding the use of quantum dots, BTC already has produced a SWIR FPA (short wavelength infrared focal plane array) camera, in collaboration with Research Triangle Institute, NC, with a resolution of 640 x 512 pixels and a sensitivity from 0.4 mm to 1.7 mm at room temperature. The goal is to continue to extend the operational wavelength range to 2.5 mm, and then 3.0 mm. BTC says the CQD-based SWIR FPA proposed would be on the order of 6-7 times less expensive, and would greatly enhance its utility. One application of the camera would be to aid the LIBS/LITE and spectro-polarimetric systems by developing cameras with extended ranges.