Ruggedized Infrared Camera
This new technology applies NASA engineering to a FLIR Systems Boson camera core to enable a robust IR camera for use in space and other extreme applications. Enhancements to the standard Boson platform include a ruggedized housing, connector, and interface. The Boson is a COTS small, uncooled, IR camera based on microbolometer technology and operates in the long-wave infrared (LWIR) portion of the IR spectrum. It is available with several lens configurations. NASA's modifications allow the IR camera to survive launch conditions and improve heat removal for space-based (vacuum) operation. The design includes a custom housing to secure the camera core along with a lens clamp to maintain a tight lens-core connection during high vibration launch conditions. The housing also provides additional conductive cooling for the camera components allowing operation in a vacuum environment. A custom printed circuit board (PCB) in the housing allows for a USB connection using a military standard (MIL-STD) miniaturized locking connector instead of the standard USB type C connector. The system maintains the USB standard protocol for easy compatibility and "plug-and-play" operation.
Multi-Spectral Imaging Pyrometer
This NASA technology transforms a conventional infrared (IR) imaging system into a multi-wavelength imaging pyrometer using a tunable optical filter. The actively tunable optical filter is based on an exotic phase-change material (PCM) which exhibits a large reversible refractive index shift through an applied energetic stimulus. This change is non-volatile, and no additional energy is required to maintain its state once set. The filter is placed between the scene and the imaging sensor and switched between user selected center-wavelengths to create a series of single-wavelength, monochromatic, two-dimensional images. At the pixel level, the intensity values of these monochromatic images represent the wavelength-dependent, blackbody energy emitted by the object due to its temperature. Ratioing the measured spectral irradiance for each wavelength yields emissivity-independent temperature data at each pixel. The filters Center Wavelength (CWL) and Full Width Half Maximum (FWHM), which are related to the quality factor (Q) of the filter, are actively tunable on the order of nanoseconds-microseconds (GHz-MHz). This behavior is electronically controlled and can be operated time-sequentially (on a nanosecond time scale) in the control electronics, a capability not possible with conventional optical filtering technologies.
power generation and storage
Triggering Li-ion Battery Cells with Laser Radiation
This technology is based upon a 120-watt IR laser is coupled to a fiber optic cable that is routed from the output of the laser into a series of focusing optics which directs energy onto a battery cell mounted to a test stand. When activated, heat from the laser penetrates the metal housing, heating the internals of the cell. At a specific temperature, the separator in the first few layers of the cell melts allowing the anode and cathode to make contact and initiates an internal short circuit. The internal short circuit then propagates throughout the battery eventually causing thermal runaway. The lower the wavelength of the laser used to produce the thermal runaway, the more heat-energy will be absorbed into the cell producing a faster result. The fiber optic cable can be terminated into a series of optics to focus the laser at a specific target, or the fiber optic cable can be stripped bare and placed next to the target to heat an isolated location. This method can also be used on a wide variety of cells, including Li-ion pouch cells, Li-ion cylindrical cells and Li-ion Large format cells. The innovation Triggering Li-ion Cells with Laser Radiation is at TRL 6 (which means a system/subsystem prototype has been demonstrated in a relevant environment) and the related patent application is now available to license and develop into a commercial product. Please note that NASA does not manufacture products itself for commercial sale.