Metrology Workbench: 3D Measurement and Visualization of Displacement and Strain Fields

NRL has developed a metrology workbench for the measurement and visualization of displacement and strain fields in three dimensions. The NRL workbench uses two or more cameras to image a specimen and includes custom software the implements the 3D Meshless Random Grid method. A random pattern of optically distinct dots is applied on the specimen surface. This procedure greatly reduces specimen preparation time compared to other optical methods.

Metallized Nanotextured Thin Films for Sensing and Catalyst Applications

NRL and Pennsylvania State University have developed a novel method for the metallization of nanotextured polymeric films that have sensing and catalyst applications. The method takes advantage of nanotextured polymer thin films, which are ideal metallization templates. The metallized nanotextured thin films have uses in biomedical implantation, metal–dielectric composites, energy storage, and biosensing platforms depending on the type of metal (i.e. gold, cobalt, nickel, etc.).

Nanofilm with Directional Wetting and Adhesion Properties

NRL and Pennsylvania State University have developed a nanofilm comprised of structured poly-(p-xylyene) (PPX) with directional wetting, adhesion, and droplet transport properties. The direction and extent of adhesion and wetability is adjusted through the formation of the PPX nanorods, which are fabricated with commercially available vapor deposition equipment. The result is a pattern of columns oriented at a non-perpendicular angle and a nanoscale surface roughness with unidirectional wetting properties.

Multi-Ply Heterogeneous Armor

NRL has developed impact armor with unparalleled performance for its weight. The armor consists of alternating layers of an elastic polymer and a harder material such as aluminum, ceramic, or an alternative polymer. Performance is enhanced with as few as six alternating layers. The layers can be attached to a thicker front plate or backing for additional protection. The armor affords protection against a range of threats, including armor piercing munitions and explosion fragments.

Transparent Spinel Ceramic

NRL has developed a suite of processes to create transparent spinel (MgAl2O4) ceramic, which is superior to the glass, sapphire, and other materials traditionally used for applications such as high-energy laser windows and lightweight armor. Commonly-used vacuum hot presses are utilized to sinter spinel powder into transparent solid materials. The NRL method includes a novel spray-coating process to uniformly coat the spinel powder particles with a sintering aid.

Nanowire-Based, Highly Efficient and Versatile Plasmonic Material for Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy

Raman spectroscopy is often used for chemical fingerprinting. However, the Raman process is very inefficient and difficult to use for trace detection. Rough metal surfaces (usually Ag or Au) are used to increase the Raman signal of trace levels of molecules adsorbed on these surfaces. This SERS enhancement of molecules on the roughened metal surface is caused by local electromagnetic fields that are created by the laser excitation of surface plasmons at the metal surface. Enhancements of up to 8 orders of magnitude have been observed. NRL investigators have completed significant work using dielectric core/metal nanowire composites and nanoshell and NW arrays.

Broad-Spectrum Biocide and Antiviral Coating

NRL has developed a series of biocides that, when formulated with the proper resin systems, produce coatings and polymers that kill a variety of bacteria, molds and viruses on contact. The advantages of the NRL biocide stems from the novel design of the molecule, with one end being hydrophobic and the other hydrophilic. This structure causes the biocide to preferentially migrate to the surface, where it is most effective, while the resin or coating is still liquid. The structure also greatly reduces removal by leaching once dried or cured.

Lase and Place

NRL has developed a laser-based device-transfer process for placing/embedding on any surface millimeter- to micrometer-size structures, such as semiconductor bare die, surface-mount and optoelectronic devices, sensors, actuators, and microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS). The technique is less likely to cause damage to fragile components compared to the mechanical “pick and place” process and has been demonstrated capable of transferring 10-µm thick bare die, which is impossible to achieve with the current mechanical process.

New Processable Cyanate Ester Resins

Novel cyanate ester (CE) resins have been discovered with enhanced processability and increased toughness. The synthesis uses high-yield reactions to produce resins of various compositions and properties. Most notable is the formation of liquid CE resins while still maintaining high-thermal stability of the thermoset. The new CE resins have relatively low-curing temperatures and high-thermal stability, giving them a distinct advantage over other resin systems.

Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Polymers for High Temperature Applications

NRL has developed a new class of polymeric materials with remarkable resistance to heat, dielectric breakdown, and oxidation at high temperatures. For applications that demand high temperature resistance coupled with greater strength, these polymers can be easily transformed into ceramics with extreme thermal and oxidative stability. NRL's new polymeric materials, which are made from resins derived from carboranes and either vinyl or acetylene siloxanes, can resist temperatures up to 510°C (950°F) in air, and are highly resistant to chemical attack. They can be molded, injected, or coated, and are also highly adhesive.

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