The sensor lab is available to test and calibrate a variety of individual chemical and biological sensors or complete sensor systems. This fully equipped laboratory is designed to serve as a test platform for sensor prototypes prior to full-scale field demonstrations and has some unique features:
- The Ambient Air Test Facility is used to calibrate and test sensor systems. In essence, the system acts like a low speed wind tunnel, bringing outside ambient air (either filtered or unfiltered) into a long tunnel. Multiple aerosols of interest can be injected into the airstream in extremely minute but carefully measured quantities where they mix with the airstream. At the far end of the tunnel, the airstream can then be sampled by the sensors being calibrated or tested.
- The large walk-in environmental chamber (11' X 10' X 10') can be used to evaluate sensors and autonomous systems for temperature and humidity effects while simultaneously exposing them to test analytes at varying concentrations. This chamber can be controlled from -30 to +185 degrees F and from 10% to 95% relative humidity.
- The small environmental and altitude chamber (approximately 64 cubic feet) can be used to evaluate sensors for effects of temperature, humidity and pressure. It can be controlled from -50 to +350 degrees F, from 10% to 95% relative humidity, and the barometric pressure can be controlled from -9000 ft to +100,000 ft of altitude. It includes a flange that provides electrical, gas and liquid feedthroughs.
- An automated gas chromatography system allows for characterization and quantification of samples. Trace detection limits of vapor and liquid samples is possible by implementing a variety of different detectors and sample introduction techniques.
- Several different vapor generation systems are provided that can be implemented to create mixtures of analytes. Vapors can be prepared in both zero and humidified air for sensor and instrumental analysis. Verification and quantification of analytes being introduced to sensors can be simultaneously quantified by an online gas chromatography system.
- Also housed in the sensor lab is a 10' by 10' anechoic chamber with an antenna characterization system, used to evaluate small communications systems for autonomous systems.
- The laboratory contains a full complement of instruments and equipment necessary for work with chemicals and biological materials at Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2), including walk-in and bench top fume hoods and biosafety cabinets.