2012 Issue 2, PSI Presents 2012 Technical Achievement Awards

Jun 30, 2012

PSI is proud of the many technical accomplishments of its staff, so a high standard is set in selecting the most notable ones. This year’s winners certainly deserve this recognition, as detailed in the following paragraphs.

The Small Business Innovation Research program, reauthorized at the end of last year, plays a significant role in helping American small businesses develop new technology. Thousands of companies participate each year in this program, creating quality jobs and creating significant innovation as measured by patents and transition successes. In this newsletter, we high-light three exciting technologies under development at PSI with roots in the SBIR program. They received PSI’s highest honor – a Technical Achievement Award.

The SBIR program continues to evolve, responding to changing national priorities. This year the Small Business Administration and the federal agencies have begun to implement the changes called out in the reauthorized legislation. PSI endorses the ongoing activity by all parties to implement the current legislation, to ensure that the program follows its mandated intent, and to continue its successful history in technology transition.

The PSI 2012 Technical Achievement Awards

B. David Green, President and CEO, recently presented PSI’s annual Technical Achievement Awards in recognition of some of the company’s most notable technical accomplishments during the past year.

Low Cost Magnetometers

Krishnan Parameswaran and Joel Hensley were presented with technical achievement awards for the development of low cost magnetometers. During a Phase 1 Navy Program, Krishnan achieved optical pumping of alkali atoms with an LED - a critical technology milestone toward a low cost, miniature magnetometer.

2 B. David Green, Joel Hensley and Krishnan Parameswaran

B. David Green, Joel Hensley and Krishnan Parameswaran

Under the current Phase II, working as a team, Krishnan and Joel have significantly extended the results to include self-oscillation and sensitivity optimization of the magnetometer using a low cost diode laser pump source, and created a prototype meeting the Navy’s size, weight, and sensitivity requirements. During a Navy review, they demonstrated sufficient performance to generate interest from other government programs. PSI is on three prime contractor teams responding to a Future Navy Capabilities (FNC) need. This technology is also central to PSI’s selection for a new DARPA program. Krishnan’s dedication, technical and inter-personal skills, and attention to detail are truly exemplary, and have resulted in PSI gaining a significant role in an important new technical area. He is interacting externally with both the government customers and potential partners. The potential for growth is significant. Joel provided critical technical insight and stepped in to accelerate program progress and obtain key critical data for the review and enable our response to the current opportunities to mature the technology further. This is an example of creating a team that brings together the tremendous technical talent resident here at PSI. Honorable mention is also given for the important contributions John Magill, Bill Kessler, Jim Glynn, and Steve Davis have made to this success.

Industrial Scale Cost-effective Electropolishing Process

Tim Hall, Maria Inman and Steve Snyder of PSI subsidiary Faraday Technology, Inc. were presented with technical achievement awards for their work in the development of an industrial scale, cost-effective electropolishing process.

Maria Inman, Time Hall, and Steve Snyder

Maria Inman, Time Hall, and Steve Snyder

Current superconducting radio frequency (SRF) electropolishing is conducted in a sulfuric and hydrochloric acid electrolyte, which is very hazardous and costly as measures must be employed to protect workers from systemic poisoning. The team developed the FARADAYICSM Electro-polishing process in an actual niobium SRF cavity using a low concentration and safe aqueous solution of sulfuric acid. The team demonstrated surface roughness of less than a nanometer and cavity accelerating performance equivalent to that of conventionally polished cavities. Furthermore, this approach enables a simple vertical process more compatible with industrial processing. The technology builds on two Faraday issued patents and has led to submission of two new U.S. and foreign patents. These performance results provide a critical milestone towards Faraday’s initial low rate production and licensing strategy related to SRF cavities. Since the earliest efforts, electropolishing has been understood to require highly viscous electrolytes generating a thick boundary layer containing strong electronegative reducing agents such as hydrofluoric acid. The FARADAYICSM Electropolishing eliminates the need for viscous electrolytes and chemical reducing agents by employing pulse reverse electrolytic waveforms. As such, it represents a completely new approach in electropolishing.

Development of InstantEye

Dave Manegold, Philly Croteau, Trish Wentworth, Travis Grager, and Dan Pedtke received technical achievement awards for their role in the development of the Instant Eye product.

2 InstantEye Team: Travis Grager, Philly Croteau, Patricia Wentworth, Dan Pedtke, and Dave Manegold

InstantEye Team: Travis Grager, Philly Croteau, Patricia Wentworth, Dan Pedtke, and Dave Manegold

A year ago, the InstantEye system was a collection of parts that tried to work together. The team saw the potential and kept overcoming every obstacle! Today the system has matured to the point where the focus is quickly moving from development to production and sales. While many have contributed to this success, a few have stood out in demonstrating their dedication, resourcefulness, and energy to move InstantEye to commercialization.

Dave Manegold worked tirelessly to completely rewrite the autopilot software and autonomy functions. With this dedication, today the aircraft does what is expected.

Patricia Wentworth has worked tirelessly to build aircraft and ground stations, repair systems damaged in testing, and is the go-to person for all things InstantEye. Because of her personality and expertise, Tricia is running the InstantEye production activities.

Travis Grager has contributed to all aspects of InstantEye including mechanical design, system modeling, building, flying, and sales and marketing. Many design choices of the current version of InstantEye can be traced back to ideas Travis had to balance ruggedness and performance.

Philly Croteau dove into the InstantEye ground station and aircraft software, improving every piece of the code. Philly cannot be deterred in trying to ensure InstantEye is a success from testing altitude performance to testing temperature performance.

Since Dan Pedtke became involved in InstantEye, the system is far more reliable, manufacturable, and maintainable. Dan will drive many of the next generation enhancements to InstantEye.

We acknowledge the role of many others in the InstantEye team, but these people have demonstrated extraordinary performance in creating a PSI product that will be successful and, most importantly, will help our soldiers be safe and perform their missions well.

Other Notable Accomplishments

Dr. Peter Moulton has been named recipient of the 2013 IEEE Photonics Award for outstanding achievements in photonics with the citation: “For the discovery of the Ti-Sapphire laser and the development of many novel solid-state laser systems and applications”.

A paper entitled “Chemical Mechanisms of low thrust plume signatures”, recently received a Best Paper Award at the April 2011 JANNAF 58th Propulsion Meeting (EPATS). The paper was written by Dr. David Oakes and Dr. Ian Konen, of PSI with M. Braunstein and P. Conforti of Spectral Sciences Inc.

Dr. Nick Iftimia was promoted to Senior Member of the The Optical Society of America (OSA) for significant contributions in optics and photonics. OSA Senior Members are well-established individuals with a designation that recognizes their experience and professional accomplishments or service within their field that sets them apart from their peers.

Editor
Donna Lamb
lamb@psicorp.com

Contributors
S.J. Davis, EJ Taylor, R.W. Guiler, and B.D. Green

A publication of
Physical Sciences Inc.
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