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Sandia National Laboratories has created sensors to identify and assess the pervasive and expensive problem of corrosion in applications ranging from construction to microelectronics.
Sandia’s micro sensors are designed and fabricated in the style of standard surface mount components (such as resistors and capacitors), which can be soldered directly onto networks such as printed circuit boards (PCBs). This allows easy integration with support electronics via standard assembly processes in a very small footprint. Corrosive environments passively and proportionately modify a sensor’s response over time allowing periodic interrogation to provide information on the enclosed systems. Sensors can be packaged with a high density for redundancy, designed for a wide range of sensitivity, and strategically located for multiple sensing tasks. The sensors are produced by the hundreds per wafer using standard industry methods resulting in low per unit costs. To date, sensors have been designed for corrosion assessment of copper, aluminum and wire bonded chips. Many other interrogation systems are possible.
Laser combs are increasingly used to provide precision measurements. Typical frequency comb systems use nonlinear elements, distinct from the laser gain media, to create a set of emission lines with equally spaced frequencies. Separate detectors and/or frequency mixing elements are needed to lock the comb and determine the absolute frequencies of the emission lines. As a result, these systems can be extremely large and expensive.
Sandia’s apparatus concept combines all the essential components for generating and locking a THz frequency comb: a multimoded laser, a non-linear mixer for generating mixed frequencies and a high frequency detector on a single mm size chip. A simple quantum cascade laser emits many modes equally spaced. A diode is embedded in the laser, creating harmonics, and the different frequencies can be used to lock the emission line frequencies while also serving as a possible detector if needed. The diode also has the ability to simultaneously mix these products against the original lines, eliminating various optical components, alignment issues, and feedback issues associated with conventional systems. With the decrease in size, weight, and system complexity, the application potential increases.
Monitoring radioactive materials is a significant problem in many fields. The Detector Array determines location of radiation emitters in an area by the temporal evolution of the count rate signal from a radiation sensor read-out by supporting electronics systems during each full revolution of a specifically shaped motorized rotating shielding member. It is mounted to the ceiling or wall to monitor the activity of radioactive materials throughout the room. The device continually measures the spatial radiation field fingerprint and either compares it to the stored trusted template or sends it encrypted to a central decision making location. Upon statistically significant deviation from the template spatial fingerprint, either an alarm gets tripped (or the device stops sending cryptographically signed “still OK” messages), depending on security system architecture.
- Monitors materials through direct detection of gamma and neutron emission
- Creates a 3D radiation map or “fingerprint” of the room/area
- Adapts radiation “fingerprint” to movements made by a trusted authority
- Signals alarm when movement occurs without trusted authority present
- U.S. Patent Nos. 9,881,708 and 9,978,469
Technology Readiness Level:
- TRL 4: Basic technological components are integrated to establish that the pieces will work together.
The Multi-Channel Analyzer Application (MCAA) is a Windows-based software program that allows a user to operate a multi-channel analyzer set to collect gamma spectra. These measurements are critical for quantifying residual radioactive material or completing radiation surveys of a working space. The software creates a connection between a tablet/personal computer and a multi-channel analyzer, allows configuration of measurement settings, automates critical quality control checks, and saves the acquired spectrum in a variety of file formats for later analysis.
- Full-energy spectrum display in real time with programmable regions of interest
- Compatible with multiple detectors from low to high resolution
- Saves output in Snapshot, HMS4, and HMS3 formats for analysis
- Full touchscreen functionality with Windows 7 and 10 compatibility
- Detector HV and gain settings controllable through user interface
- User interface designed around HMS4 for familiarity
- The Y-12 National Security Complex has copyright protection for this technology.
Technology Readiness Level:
- TRL 8: The system has been built and tested, and it can be demonstrated.
The Sandia wave reflector is a magnetic conductor for wireless transmissions near 433 MHz. The device reflects perpendicular electromagnetic waves in-phase and suppresses surface waves resulting in improved gain performance and effective operation regardless of physical placement.
The reflector achieves gain improvement through a quarter-wave short phenomenon. The height of the ceramic rods is electrically equivalent to a quarter-wavelength near 433 MHz. The rods are able to provide this electrical delay in a small form factor due to their high dielectric constant. As an electromagnetic wave travels through the rods along their axes it receives a 1/4 period of phase delay be-fore it reaches the conductive short. The conductive backing reflects electromagnetic waves with a +180° phase, and then the waves travel back through the rods along their axes to receive another 1/4 period of phase delay. This causes the waves to arrive at the antenna surface with a +180° phase and a 1/2 period delay, creating positive interference that effectively doubles the gain of the antenna.
Placement-immunity is achieved in the reflector through surface wave suppression. By preventing surface waves from propagating out of the substrate (perpendicular to the main beam direction), they cannot interact with the surrounding environment and affect the antenna’s performance. Surface wave suppression is achieved through the magnetic dipole resonance of the ceramic rods. When an electromagnetic wave near 433 MHz excites the dielectric rods in the substrate with a transverse electric field polarization, the permeability of the dielectric rods skyrockets at that frequency due to the rod’s resonance. The large permeability of the rods in resonance creates a high impedance surface for the incident electric field, which causes the wave to reflect off of the rod instead of propagating through it.
Novel wireless sensor system enabling a new breed of smart city research and sensor-driven environmental science
The Waggle research project at Argonne National Laboratory seeks to design, develop, and deploy a novel wireless sensor system, with the aim of enabling a new breed of smart city research and sensor-driven environmental science. The software and hardware designs from the Waggle project are used by the Array of Things project, which is building a smart city and open data with urban sensors in Chicago. The project recently received a $3.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support the development and installation of 500 sensor nodes. The nodes will initially measure factors such as barometric pressure, light, carbon monoxide, ambient sound, and temperature. Continued research and development will help create sensors to monitor other urban factors of interest such as flooding, precipitation, wind, and pollutants