Facilities - Materials Research

Acoustic and Electro-Optic Propagation Range Site (Maryland)

The Acoustic and Electro-Optic Propagation Range Site (AEOPRS) is a pair of ranges that conduct experiments relating to the effects of various environmental conditions on acoustic and electrooptic (EO) propagation. The ranges can be instrumented to measure the atmospheric conditions and acoustic/EO signals that have propagated through the complex environment: in particular, a littoral region. The AEOPRS provides the ability to collect detailed meteorological/acoustic/EO data for the development of state-of-the-art models and the evaluation of current acoustic/EO models. The AEOPRS is also the primary site for the Mobile Acoustic Source (MOAS), a system with environmental capabilities that exist in no other system in the world. It is a pneumatic loudspeaker system that allows scientists to verify acoustic models of atmospheric effects. The system is a true exponential horn. It generates sound sufficient for testing acoustic propagation of sources.

Advanced Materials Growth and Processing Facility (ALC)

This most extensive of U.S. Army materials growth and processing facilities houses seven dedicated, state-of-the-art, molecular beam epitaxy and three metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) systems that control, at the atomic level, growth of advanced semiconductors. Researchers design and engineer elements from across the periodic table for use in numerous optical devices, such as lasers and detectors, and in devices that span the electromagnetic spectrum and electronic components, such as field-effect transistors (FET) and thyristors.

Advanced Microanalysis Facility (ALC)

The Advanced Microanalysis Facility fully integrates capabilities for chemical and structural analysis of electronic materials and devices for the U.S. Army and DoD. It includes surface and bulk characterization instrumentation, with measurements achieving atomic scale resolution and elemental detection achieving parts-per-billion sensitivity. The facility also conducts failure analysis of failed critical military devices or systems.

Aerosol Research Facility (ALC)

The Aerosol Research Facility develops methods for the detection and characterization of biologic aerosols and other atmospheric particles such as dust, haze, and battlefield obscurants. It combines the capability to generate, concentrate, dilute, monitor, and study the behavior of aerosol-environment interactions in time and space through the use of specialized, scientific instrumentation. This instrumentation includes a multi wavelength photo acoustic system; a polarimetric imager; a set of lasers that can illuminate particles at a variety of wavelengths from 220 nm to 10 μm; an electron multiplying charge-coupled device (EMCCD), intensified charge-coupled devices (ICCDs), and photomultiplier arrays for measuring fluorescence and Raman spectra; a nephelometer; aerosol particle counters and sizers; equipment for gravimetric analysis of atmospheric aerosols; and an aerosol-particle fluorescence spectrometer system for measuring the fluorescence spectra of individual particles sampled from air at rates up to 100 particles per second. This equipment provides the capability to measure physical, chemical, and biological characteristics; optical crosssections; and spectral “signatures” of particles.

Applied Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory (ALC)

This facility is used for research and development of advanced optical methodologies for the detection of all hazardous materials (chemical, biological, and explosives) and for basic research into new laser spectroscopic techniques. Equipment capability spans the ultraviolet to infrared spectrums and includes an ultrafast amplified titanium sapphire laser (sub- 30 femtoseconds); multiple widely-tunable Quantum Cascade lasers; and numerous ion, fiber, and solid state sources in the visible and near-infrared spectrums. Currently studied optical spectroscopies include laser photoacoustics, surfaceenhanced Raman, single-beam coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS), and laser pulse-shaping. The laboratory also includes advanced ink-jetting technology capable of manufacturing advanced optical standards for testing and assessment of spectroscopic techniques.

ARL Center for Advanced Polymer Processing (APG)

The ARL Center for Advanced Polymer Processing facility engages in fundamental and applied materials and processing research impacting items such as protective equipment, sensors, high energy density electronics, battlefield medical treatment and broadly across the materials research paradigm. The key components of ACAPP include engineering and environmental laboratory controls, advanced mixing, materials characterization, post extrusion polymer processing, and microfabrication; ACAPP houses a full suite of printing, sintering, and lithographic techniques for producing 2D and 3D polymeric structures.

BSL I-II Biotechnology Multi-User Facility (ALC)

The BSL I-II Biotechnology Multi- User Facility provides an environment for comprehensive biotechnology research: from fundamental studies of complex biological systems and biomolecular interactions through prediction, design, and engineering of advanced biological/ bio-hybrid materials and systems for a wide range of Army applications. The facility’s capabilities cover a broad spectrum, including micro and molecular biology equipment in conjunction with advanced characterization tools and biochemistry instrumentation. These capabilities enable multi-scale studies of cells, subcellular components, and metabolic networks of aerobic and anaerobic organisms as well as natural and engineered biologic materials. Instrumentation includes advanced optical and environmental electron microscopy; spectroscopic tools for dynamic structural determination; biomanufacturing capabilities including fermentation, separation, and purification in controlled environments; biological and bio-hybrid materials fabrication; classical and custom biological performance studies; and electrical property characterization. The facility is commissioned to handle biosafety level I and II materials.

Center for Cold Spray Research and Development (APG)

This is the only DoD facility capable of cold spray research and development, production, and field-repair. It features three stationary cold spray systems used for research, development, and prototyping in addition to five portable cold spray systems that are used in the field.

Cold Atom Optics and Quantum Network Laboratory (ALC)

The Cold Atom Optics and Quantum Network Laboratory lasercools atoms to millionths of a degree above absolute zero and then traps the atoms using wires on a microfabricated chip. The lab exploits the atoms’ quantum nature for applications in timekeeping, inertial sensing, and quantum information processing. A quantum fiber network between ARL and the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park enables the transfer of photons carrying quantum information between research laboratories at the two institutions. Current experiments use cold atoms as quantum memory and quantum processors for sending and receiving photons across the fiber.

Directed Energy Anechoic Chamber (ALC)

The Directed Energy Anechoic Chamber comprises a power anechoic chamber and one transverse electromagnetic cell for characterizing radiofrequency (RF) responses of electronics to high power microwaves (HPM). Externally modulated high power amplifiers and adapted radar sources provide continuous wave (CW) and pulse-modulated waveforms. Power levels vary and are supported in bands of common interest.

Dissimilar Materials Assembly System (APG)

DMAS, developed by ARL, allows fully automated assembly of dissimilar materials, such as ceramics and polymer composites. For example, it can integrate different materials and complex fiber architecture sequences that have been proven to reduce back face deformation in ceramic based body armor systems.

Electric Field Cage (ALC)

The Electric Field (E-field) Cage generates DC and lowfrequency AC fields for sensor design, calibration, and evaluation. It is roughly analogous to an anechoic chamber for acoustic or radar measurements, or a Helmholtz coil system for quasi-static magnetic field measurements, in that it attenuates unwanted external fields and generates calibration quality fields for testing in a laboratory environment. The E-field cage is essentially a large parallel-plate capacitor with guard rings to control fringing fields; however, the size of the cage and the spacing of the guard rings can be modified to accommodate the needs of individual tests. The cage can be run in a single-ended mode, for testing ground-based or aircraft-based sensors, or in a double-sided mode for testing projectile-based and other free-space sensors.

Electrochemical Facility (ALC)

The Electrochemical Facility prototypes thermal and liquid reserve batteries and high energy, high power, experimental batteries in two dry rooms; one room is maintained at below one percent relative humidity. In addition to battery prototyping equipment, the facility houses inert atmospheric chambers; a spin/setback air gun for realistic laboratory testing of reserve munitions batteries; chemical synthesis equipment; and analytic equipment for fabricating and evaluating highly energetic anodes, cathodes, and electrolyte materials and components for batteries, capacitors, and fuel cells.

Electro-Optic and Acoustic Remote Sensing Laboratories (ALC)

This suite of laboratories is designed to further the science of electro-optic and acoustic remote sensing in complex outdoor environments. It enables detailed studies on acoustic and electro optic propagation and time-evolution of the atmosphere. Equipment includes Doppler light detection and ranging (lidar) systems (Wind Tracer, Wind Tracer- Model X Transceiver [WTX], Fibertek, Leosphere, and Halo); DefendIR (forwardlooking infra-red [FLIR] and visible imagers with range finder); polarimetric longwave infra-red [LWIR]-FLIR radiometer; multispectral polarimetric LWIR FLIR; microphones; infrasound sensors; seismic sensors; high rate data acquisition systems; sonic anemometers; temperature probes; and global positioning system (GPS) units. A machine shop provides for specialized fabrication.

Flexible Electronics Research Facility (ALC)

The Flexible Electronics Research Facility designs, synthesizes, tests, and fabricates materials and devices compatible with flexible substrates for Army information displays, sensors, and electronics. Research results provide system-level weight reduction, novel form factors, and unique capabilities for future Soldier technologies such as largearea radiation sensors, light emitting devices, and chemical analysis detectors.

Heterogeneous Electronics – Wafer Level Integration, Packaging, and Assembly Facility (ALC)

This facility integrates active electronics with microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices at the miniature system scale. It obviates current size-, weight-, and power (SWaP)-constrained integration challenges associated with ultra-compact and low observable chip-scale systems by integrating, at the wafer-level, small-scale MEMS devices with diverse components and materials, including active silicon and wideband gap switching devices. The facility’s high density component integration tools include electroplating baths for electro-deposition of various metals; high precision pick and place tools; wafer dicing saws; ink-jet printing tools; wire bonders; flip-chip bonders; and a jet vapor tool for depositing various metals. Hybrid integration capabilities apply widely to areas such as miniature power supplies; secure communication systems, including small radios; imaging; and distributed and multi-modal sensor platforms.

High Energy Solid State Laser Research Facility (ALC)

A suite of laboratories with advanced spectroscopic and laser equipment, this facility develops materials and techniques for advanced solid state high energy lasers. Research and development address rare earth and transition metal-doped, diode-pumped laser materials—in single-crystal and ceramic form—for room temperature and cryogenic operation. The facility investigates lasers emitting at wavelengths near 1, 1.5, and 2 microns for directed energy weapon (DEW) applications and near 3 microns and beyond for infrared countermeasure (IRCM) applications.

High Power Fiber Laser Test Bed (ALC)

This facility, unique within DoD, power-combines numerous cutting-edge fiber-coupled laser diode modules (FCLDM) to integrate pumping of high power rare earth-doped fiber lasers. Selected pump wavelengths are eyesafe and minimize heat deposition in the fiber, an important factor for scaling the laser to high powers for directed energy weapon (DEW) applications. The design has the flexibility to test new fiber lasers from ARL and other DoD laboratories up to kilowatt-class powers, enabling performance projections to much higher powers.

High Power, Scalable, and Integrated Eyesafe Laser Test Bed (ALC)

This facility is the only test bed in the world with available pump power levels of up to 2 kW at 1530 nm. It evaluates the power scalability of fiber lasers and amplifiers using the resonant pumping approach in order to achieve a better understanding of the scalability limit for fiber lasers operating in the eyesafe wavelength regions of 1.56 – 1.62 μm, for resonantly pumped erbium (Er)-doped fibers, and 1.85 – 2.1 μm, for resonantly pumped thulium (Tm)-doped fibers. Pump sources are InP/InGaAsP laser diode modules fiber-coupled into standard 105/125 μm, 0.22 numerical aperture (NA) multimode delivery fibers. Fiber coupling integrates the pump via commercial pump couplers/combiners into active fibers (doped laser fibers). The High Energy Laser-Joint Technology Office (HEL-JTO) and ARL jointly funded the facility. The test bed will be available to government and non-government customers interested in testing their developed components, including pump couplers, step-index and photonic crystal fiber (PCF) laser fibers, and all-fiber optical isolators.

High Speed On-Wafer Characterization Laboratory (ALC)

At the High Speed On-Wafer Characterization Laboratory, researchers characterize and model devices operating at terahertz (THz) and millimeter-wave frequencies. The facility is unique in its ability to perform nonlinear device characterization, including state-of-the-art load pull and arbitrary digital waveform synthesis, making this the only laboratory DoD-wide where actual mil waveforms are tested directly on-wafer. Additionally, the capability to test at high power while controlling temperature enables the design of high power linear sources and expands the range of performance at the integrated circuit (chip) level.

Intelligent Optics Laboratory (ALC)

The Intelligent Optics Laboratory supports sophisticated investigations on adaptive and nonlinear optics; advanced imaging and image processing; ground-to-ground and ground-to-air free-space laser communications; directed energy systems; and other applications. An outdoor, 2.3 km optical propagation path is accessible in the facility for experimental study of adaptive imaging and laser propagation through the boundary layer. The laboratory uses a variety of state-of-the-art adaptive optics; wave front diagnostics and compensation; and image processing algorithms to support advanced techniques for modeling, simulation, imaging, and laser communications systems.

Magnetic Resonance Force Microscopy System (ALC)

The Magnetic Resonance Force Microscopy (MRFM) system, developed by ARL, is the world’s most sensitive nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic analysis tool, with a demonstrated sensitivity better than 35 cubic microns and 50 pico grams. It is unique to DoD and DoE. A second MRFM is nearing completion. The MRFM performs non-destructive nanocharacterization of semiconductor and biological materials and devices using NMR spectroscopy to assess strain, internal electric fields, and material interfaces of nanoelectronic devices and materials.

Magnetics Research Facility (ALC)

The Magnetics Research Facility houses three Helmholtz coils that generate magnetic fields in three perpendicular directions to balance the earth’s magnetic field. An additional set of Helmholtz coils generates larger fields of 140 oersted (Oe); a set of coaxial Mumetal magnetic cylinders is used for lowerfield measurements. A measurement stage with non-magnetic microprobes can be positioned in the coils’ center.

Materials Characterization Facility (APG)

The Materials Characterization Facility enables detailed measurements of the properties of ceramics, polymers, glasses, and composites. It features instrumentation for analyzing the chemical properties of materials at a wide range of temperatures and optical and electron microscopy and electron probe instruments for microstructural analysis; x-ray residual stress analysis; and electrical, magnetic, and thermal property characterization.

MEMS/Electronic Device Design and Characterization Facility (ALC)

This facility allows DoD to design and characterize state-of-theart microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and electronic devices. Device designers develop their own analytical and finite element models using combinations of custom and commercial software such as ANSYS, HFSS, and Matlab. To verify device performance, a host of equipment characterizes the MEMS/electronic devices including low and high frequency vector network analyzers; semiconductor parameter analyzers; scanning and tunneling electron microscopes; high resolution and high speed microscopy; laser Doppler vibrometry from mHz to 1.2 GHz; semi and full autoprobers; systems for characterizing on-chip energetic reactions and materials; and custom electronic test equipment for actuators and sensors.

Microwave/Millimeter-wave Anechoic Chamber (ALC)

The Microwave/Millimeter-wave Anechoic Chamber measures: (1) directivity patterns and gain on antenna elements and aperture arrays and (2) radar cross-section signatures on targets of interest. A steel platform outside the tapered end allows external equipment experiments and includes a rail translator-mounted positioner for insertion into the aperture.

Millimeter-wave Instrumentation Test Facility (ALC)

The Millimeter-wave Instrumentation Test Facility conducts basic research in propagation phenomena, remote sensing, and target signatures. The facility has a breadth and depth of instrumentation and analysis capabilities, with supporting tools such as high speed data acquisition; multipleband radar analysis systems; visualization tools; outdoor experimental facilities; and the capability to generate models for evaluating performance.

Nanoelectronics Characterization Laboratory (ALC)

This facility houses growth and characterization capabilities for graphene and other 2D materials for application to electronic devices such as field-effect transistors (FET), bolometers, and supercapacitors. Growth equipment includes atmospheric pressure and low-vacuum chemical vapor deposition furnaces for single and multilayer graphene growth, and materials characterization capabilities including atomic force, Raman, and scanning electron microscopies. ARL’s Raman mapping capability is state of the art and ideal for investigating nanomaterials and devices. High resolution mapping quantifies layer quality, doping effects, layer count, stacking order, and interface effects in novel 2D material configurations. Electrical characterization comprises equipment such as a vacuum/cryogenic probe station, a cryogenic hall probe system, a multichannel potentiostat for characterizing electrochemical devices, and various DC and pulsed semiconductors.

Near Field Test Facility (ALC)

The Near Field Test Facility conducts planar, cylindrical, and spherical scanning with high resolution data transformation to far field patterns. The facility covers the frequency band of 1.3 GHz to 26 GHz, with a 50 GHz upgrade planned for the future.

Nonlinear Materials Characterization Facility (ALC)

The Nonlinear Materials Characterization Facility conducts photophysical research and development of nonlinear materials operating in the visible spectrum to protect Soldiers and sensors from battlefield lasers. Wavelength-tunable laser systems operating in the femtopico-, and nanosecond range evaluate the nonlinear optical properties of materials in Army relevant configurations.

Photolithography and Micro-Fabrication/Packaging Laboratories (ALC)

The Photolithography and Micro-Fabrication/Packaging laboratories provide research level semiconductor processing equipment and facilities that do not require a full cleanroom environment. Photolithography facilities include a photoresist spinner, optical mask aligner, a developing hood, curing ovens, a plasma asher, and a profilometer in a yellow-room environment. Micro-fabrication and packaging facilities include thermal and electron-beam evaporators; solvent and acid hoods; an electroplating hood; an automatic dicing saw; flip-chip indium bump bonders; wire bonders; optical inspection microscopes; and a probe station with a semiconductor parameter analyzer for electrical characterization.

Photovoltaic Research Facility (ALC)

The Photovoltaic Research Facility explores novel photovoltaic technologies that can sustain military systems, sensors, and gear. Capabilities include a state-of-the-art, variable temperature, ultra-high vacuum-scanning tunneling microscope (UHV-STM) for analysis of surface morphology, localized defect states, and quantum confined states; probe stations for device testing; an internal/external quantum efficiency (IQE/EQE) system; fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy tools for analyzing spectral response in the visible to long wavelength; a near-infrared photoluminescence system; and a class AAA solar simulator system that meets all performance criteria designated as class A, B, or C for spectral match, non-uniformity of irradiance, and temporal instability of irradiance.

Smart Battlefield Energy on Demand Facility (ALC)

The Smart Battlefield Energy on Demand (SmartBED) facility enables state-of-the-art research on power distribution components and technologies to improve energy consumption at tactical installations. For example, 34 percent of total energy consumption at Army installations is from generator use. Limited control and oversight results in high energy losses, especially at small outposts and operating bases; however, power grids at the small bases are uniquely military in their need to operate independently while adapting to rapid changes in loads and sources. Recent advances in high performance computing, control topologies, and power conversion have the potential to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy waste, especially at small bases that lack personnel trained in power systems operation. The SmartBED facility provides the capability to analyze and optimize these advanced power control and conversion technologies in a controlled environment.

Specialty Electronic Materials and Sensors Cleanroom Research Facility (ALC)

This 15,000 gross square feet Class 10 and 100 cleanroom facility houses a comprehensive set of semiconductor fabrication tools—including specialty material deposition, etch, lithography, and thermal—and research characterization systems for the next generation of sensors and electronic devices for the Soldier. These systems enable the fabrication of advanced micro and nanoscale devices using an extremely broad set of device materials including silicon; III-V and IIVI semiconductors; silicon carbide; quartz; lead zirconate titanate (PZT) and aluminum nitride piezoelectrics; many metals and oxides; and graphene and carbon nanotubes. Support applications fabricated with these devices range from bio- and trace-gas detection; secure communication (radiofrequency [RF] switches, filters, varactors, and tunable inductors); improvised explosive device (IED) detection (RF switches and filters); mobile sensor platforms for Soldier Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (bio-inspired microflight and terrestrial actuation, ultrasonic motors, bioinspired sensors); traumatic brain injury (shock sensor, G-switch); RF (resonators, switches); power generation (microturbine, energy harvesting); infrared, ultraviolet, and optical detectors and emitters (imagers, lasers, LEDs); on chip energetic devices (microthrusters, fuzing); and next-generation flexible, transparent, and high performance electronics and devices based on graphene and other 1D and 2D materials.

Structural Integrity and Durability Laboratory (APG)

The Structural Integrity and Durability Laboratory supports research efforts in durability and damage tolerance, probabilistic and risk-based life assessment, structural health monitoring, additive manufacturing, and survivability. This research will enable extremely lightweight, adaptive, durable, and damage tolerant structures for the future force, supporting air vehicle structures and dynamics research as well as ground vehicle structural mechanics and dynamics technology. The lab contains several Material Testing Systems (MTS) mechanical testing machines, including a unique 1,000-Hz machine for high-cycle fatigue and additive manufacturing equipment as well as fixturing and instrumentation to support experimental research.

Superconducting Materials Research Facility (ALC)

The Superconducting Materials Research Facility uses a metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) technique to grow and investigate the enhancement of high temperature yttrium barium copper oxide (YBCO) materials. Research goals are to improve superconductor properties (such as flux pinning processes) and to investigate material use in new applications. Partners in academia, government agencies, and industry arecollaborating to develop YBCO based materials for electrical power and electronics applications.

Thermoelectric Research Facility (ALC)

This facility develops next-generation, high efficiency thermoelectric technologies to support: (1) significantly reduced fuel usage in large-platform military systems, (2) improved cooling for sensors, and (3) covert man-portable electrical power sources. The facility includes capabilities for basic materials/measurement research; new prototype device technologies; full-scale system testing and efficiency measurement; and a new dedicated molecular beam epitaxy system that analyzes higher efficiency thermoelectric materials. Using these capabilities, ARL has developed novel measurement methodologies with unusually accurate measurements of thermoelectric properties (Seebeck coefficient, thermal conductivity, and electrical resistivity) from below freezing to above 1,000 degrees Kelvin.

UV to THz Spectroscopy and Characterization Facility (ALC)

This facility has extensive continuous-wave and timeresolved optical characterization laboratories for study of carrier dynamics and transport using femtosecond lasers continuously tunable between 200 and 2,500 nm and from 1 micron to > 10 microns. Capabilities include temperature dependent (10–300 degrees kelvin) photoluminescence, photoluminescence excitation, electro- and photoreflectance, and terahertz (THz) spectroscopy—all with sub picoseconds temporal resolution.



ALC - Adelphi Laboratory Center, MD

APG - Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD