ARL partners with Boston-based researchers to create graphene-based technologies for military applications

February 21, 2012

Story Highlights

  • ARL entered into a three-year cooperative agreement with Boston-based Electronic Materials Research Institute at Northeastern University.
  • The long-term goal is to license and mass-produce the novel technology for low-cost infrared cameras.
  • The project is in collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's (ARL) Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate (SEDD)entered into a three-year cooperative agreement with Boston-based Electronic Materials Research Institute at Northeastern University to design graphene-based technology for use in low-cost infrared imaging applications for the military.

Scientists and historians alike have lauded graphene, which is a single layer of graphite, as a super-material, believed to be the strongest yet thinnest possible material; it's said to be 100 times stronger than steel. Because it can conduct electricity as well as copper, it is an ideal materials candidate for integrated circuits like telephone communication.

The project dovetails with Northeastern's focus on use-inspired research that solves global challenges in health, security and sustainability.

The Northeastern team, which has developed novel approaches toward synthesizing the nanomaterial, will help design graphene-based bolometers, which measure heat generated by objects or people. The military, Sridhar said, may use the bolometers in night vision goggles or for thermal body imaging and may eventually incorporate the technology into smart phones.

The long-term goal, he noted, is to license and mass-produce the novel technology for low-cost infrared cameras.

"A low-cost, graphene-based thermal sensor technology could be very beneficial to the Army," noted Dr. Paul Amirtharaj, the Electronics and RF Division Chief of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md.

SEDD is the principal Army organization for basic and applied research in sensors, electron devices, and power and energy to ensure U.S. military superiority. SEDD conducts innovative research in the areas of sensors, electron devices and power and energy to provide the Army with affordable enabling technology in advanced electro-optical technologies; flexible displays; advanced RF technologies; electronic materials and devices; autonomous sensing; micro autonomous technologies; hybrid electric vehicle, platform, and pulse power; directed energy; and micro, Soldier, and portable power.

Additionally, SEDD coordinates these technologies within ARL and the Army, with other services and agencies, and with industry and academia, to leverage basic and applied research opportunities for the benefit of the Army. Major research areas in sensors include advanced electro-optical technologies; flexible displays; advanced RF technologies; electronic materials and devices; autonomous sensing; and micro autonomous systems.

The mission of the eMRI is to synergize and catalyze research and education in materials for nano-, bio- and info-technologies, with a particular focus on nanomaterials for energy, medicine and electronic and photonic nanostructures.

The project is in collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

 

Last Update / Reviewed: February 21, 2012