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Current Areas of Research

Workplace Monitoring- Low concentrations of toxic gases associated with workplace environments and enclosed environments such as ships and submarines represent potential hazards. The availability of accurate point source alarming detectors and dosimeters are important. With support from several DoD sources, a variety of detection technologies are being refined and tested. New detection concepts are developed for improved future analytical applications.

Pattern Recognition and Data Analysis- Pattern recognition methods are employed to interpret the information from sensor arrays. The goal of this research program is to increase the robustness of existing pattern recognition methodology through feature selection tools and to obtain quantitative measurements for specific analyte vapors.

Compositional Topography Mapping of Navy Mobility Fuels- Multiway chemometric modeling will be applied to capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometric data to develop detailed compositional maps of jet, diesel, synthetic and biofuels. These models will be used to define acceptable mixtures of hydrocarbons for the intended application as mobility fuels, on the basis of chemical composition.

Smart Microsensor Arrays for Chemical Agent Detection and Shipboard Damage Control- This project is a collaboration with General Atomics to build a new sensor array for the detection of blood agents, toxic industrial chemicals (TICs), and fire detection based on cermet sensors. A four sensor array will be developed and tested against several blood agents, simulants, fire/nuisance sources, and TICs. Cyclic voltammetry will be used to probe the sensors. Identification algorithms will be developed for the detection of chemical agents, flaming and smoldering fires, and TICs.

Advanced Volume Sensor- An affordable, real-time detection system based on optical and acoustic methods for shipboard damage control is being developed. The volume sensor identifies shipboard conditions and provides an alarm for events such as fire, explosions, pipe ruptures, and flooding level. The goal for fire detection is to improve sensitivity and time to alarm for event discrimination above that of point sensor detectors and to reduce false alarms. The Volume Sensor Program combines visible and near infrared image analysis with spectral and acoustic signatures providing both spatial and spectral information for improved situational awareness.

Sensor-based Fuel Diagnostics and Prognostics- Development of sensing technologies and chemometric modeling capabilities to perform aviation and ship propulsion fuel quality surveillance. This includes both traditional petroleum-based fuels, as well as synthetic and fuels derived from biomass. The Navy Fuel Property Monitor (NFPM) is a hardware demonstration of this capability, which will supplement and potentially replace the existing fuel laboratory test procedures currently performed onboard naval vessels. A further goal is to develop the capability to perform real-time in-situ property monitoring in both land-based and shipboard fuel pipeline systems, in addition to portable devices capable of identifying and qualifying captured fuels.

Trace Analysis- Research focuses on developing analytical methods for accurate generation and verification of trace chemicals in air both individually and in complex mixtures. Novel methods are being explored to create stable and reproducible concentrations of hazardous chemical at parts per trillion to parts per million levels in air. The air will be used to evaluate the performance of new sensors or detection systems. New sample chambers are being designed, modeled and tested to ensure controlled fluid flow across the systems. Finally, new methods to validate the air stream are being explored using Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry and Spectroscopy. All of these features are being combined into an automated testbed.

Data Fusion for Analysis for Range Test Validation System- A test grid is being developed to track and detect chemical agent simulant clouds on test ranges. The goal is to determine in near real-time the size, location, and concentration distribution of the chemical cloud. The test grid will provide a range test validation system to support validation testing of point and standoff sensors. The test grid will be used to determine environmental fate and transport of chemical cloud. Data Fusion methods will be used to combine the results of five infrared imaging spectroradiometers (AIRIS) and 25 LCD point sensors based on ion mobility spectrometer (IMS) with the weather information that is recorded at the site. The different types of data need to be fused to provide a common operational picture that describes the chemical cloud temporally and spatially

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