AMRDEC programs win foreign proposal funding

Dr. Michael Scalora applied to support his research with “Enhanced Absorption in Stopped-light Photonic Nanostructures: Efficient Sensing”, with a partnership in Lithuania.

Two scientists at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center were recent winners of the Foreign Technology Assessment Support program. The applicants submitted proposals for funds to support separate projects.

Dr. Michael Scalora applied to support his research with, “Enhanced Absorption in Stopped-light Photonic Nanostructures: Efficient Sensing”, with a partnership in Lithuania. According to Scalora, his team has maintained a cordial and friendly relationship with Lithuania for almost 20 years through ongoing projects and workshops. The effort will produce both software and new optimized structures, designs, and devices with improved performance over comparable state of the art devices.

The ultimate goal is to create new, disruptive Opto-Electro-Plasmonic devices to empower future Soldiers with state-of-the-art systems, sensors and weapons to enable a clear advantage over eventual adversaries. “We hope to leverage the expertise of the whole team. I believe there is much potential for new results.”

Future studies in this field can help pave the way to new devices with added capabilities. They hope to explore new physical phenomena to maintain technological superiority of the future Warfighter, while exploiting technical breakthroughs for near-term applications.

“The definition of basic research is that you develop ideas now to become a reality in ten years,” explained Scalora. “In order to maintain a lead in technology you have to be aware of what is going on in the rest of the world. Working with international partners allows you to have those different points of view.”

Jeff Gaddes’ application was in response to a need for a new process, “Finishing Direct Metal Laser Sintering Parts”, with partners in Switzerland. The Micro Machining Process is a mechanical immersion process that reduces metal surface roughness. This technology can be used to substantially increase the lifespan of additive manufacturing, direct metal laser sintering parts.

The DMLS process can produce highly complex parts with high resolution that are impossible to make using traditional machining processes. Aviation components manufactured by DMLS can provide substantial performance gains, mitigate obsolescence issues and reduce lead time. Increasing the fatigue life of DMLS parts enables adoption of additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing can increase performance, reduce life cycle cost, reduce lead time, increase availability of spare parts and increase mission readiness.

“The entire Manufacturing Technology team contributed to the proposal,” explained Gaddes. “This project complements existing additive manufacturing efforts. The application process was straight forward. My experience was positive.”

The FTAS Program, funded by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, provides initial resources for Subject Matter Experts to perform technology assessments, basic research studies and test and evaluation efforts of unique foreign research and technology.

“Programs like FTAS make it possible for AMRDEC scientists to keep informed of scientific progress abroad, increase and foster scientific knowledge, continue to nurture international relations to foster technological renewal and remain at the forefront of scientific advancements in their chosen fields of endeavor,” said Guidry.

The PTAS Program funds science and research for preliminary assessment of technologies which is proven successful may be transitioned into a laboratory project other research program. The projects are typically funded $75,000 to $150,000, receiving a 12 month assessment. Proposals are developed from technology finds reported formally through technology information papers.

All DOD organizations have the authority to generate TIPs and submitted them to Global Science and Technology Watch/TIPs On-Line. Tisha Guidry works with the International Programs Office which receives the proposal submissions. Guidry said that in the past two years, two applicants had applied each time and all had received the full amount requested.

“I would encourage others to submit a proposal during the next annual round. There is always an advantage to use outside funding,” said Guidry. Scalora echoed, “Just take the time to work on a proposal. A little funding goes a long way.”

With these new international collaborations we can leverage new capabilities and cement ties with scientists in other parts of the world. “This program was a great way to find collaboration and partnerships,” said Gaddes.

With this effort, AMRDEC can continue to assess and develop new and emerging relevant military technologies in defense of the Nation.

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U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Material Command.

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