Recent News at Physical Sciences Inc.

Nov 08, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Demonstrates The Usefulness of Drone-mounted Laser-based Leak Detection Technology


RMLD-UAV inspects underground gas lines for leakage in inaccessible areas due to storm damage.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Heath Consultants Incorporated (Heath) and Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), demonstrated the usefulness of drone-mounted laser-based leak detection technology for emergency response. The Remote Methane Leak Detector Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (RMLD-UAV) was deployed to inspect underground gas lines around Beaumont and Port Aransas, Texas for major leakage in areas that were inaccessible to vehicles and unsafe for walking due to downed utility lines, flood water, hazardous debris such as fallen trees, fences and metal roofing. The operation illustrates the benefits of drones in situations when typical land surveys are not possible. (Read More)

Multimodal Microscope for Intraoperative Assessment of Breast Surgical Margins

PSI, in collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center and Caliber ID, has been awarded a research program by the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, to develop a novel technology for real-time assessment of surgical margins on breast cancer lumpectomy specimens.

A multimodal microscope will be used in conjunction with a high sensitivity cancer targeting agent to detect positive margins on lumpectomy specimens. Enhanced contrast fluorescence imaging will be applied first to identify positive margins, then combined high-resolution confocal microscopy-optical coherence tomography imaging will be used to visualize tissue sub-cellular morphology to confirm or rule out the presence of cancer and provide immediate feedback to the surgeon. PSI has previously demonstrated the suitability of this technology for positive cancer margin detection on surgical specimens in a benchtop study. (Read more)

Mass Ventures Awards PSI a Stage II 2017 START Program

Boston - MassVentures recently announced the 2017 START (SBIR TARgeted Technologies) program winners. Each START winner will receive a grant to help grow employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation across the Commonwealth. The winning companies span the state and the technology sector, from robotics to clean energy to defense.


Jerry Bird, President of MassVentures

Stage I funding provided PSI with the ability to form strategic alliances that enabled our PCS Enabled Radiation Monitor (PERM) detection technology to compete in the Radiation Portal Monitor market and establish initial production capability. Stage II funding will enable us to expand our production capability while entering the mobile and military detector markets. (Read more)

PSI Awarded Research Programs from NASA

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded research programs from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The programs include:

Electrical Power from Thermal Energy Scavenging in High Temperature Environments. PSI and our university partner are developing a novel approach to scavenging heat from high intensity thermal environments encountered during space missions and converting this thermal power into electrical power at high efficiency.

Passive Set-Point Thermal Control Skin for Spacecraft. PSI is developing a passive thermal skin for spacecraft with set-point temperature control using phase-change-material nanofilms. This allows for simultaneous control of the visible reflectivity and the infrared emissivity of the spacecraft, causing the craft to reflect sunlight and radiate heat when hot, and absorb sunlight and become non-emissive when cold.

High Performance Hybrid Propulsion System for a Small Launch Vehicle. PSI will design, develop and demonstrate an innovative high-performance, green, storable hybrid propellant system in a high mass fraction launch vehicle for small satellites. The hybrid system utilizes an innovative composite solid fuel technology that significantly enhances fuel regression rate and ignitibility.

Adaptive Venturi for Monopropellant Feed Systems. PSI is developing a unique venturi for future monopropellant feed systems that uses a passively controlled throat area to adjust propellant flow rate. The adaptive venturi eliminates hammer in monopropellant thruster manifolds by rapidly adjusting flow area to prevent pressure surges.

A Ferroelectric Semiconductor Absorber for Surpassing the Shockley-Queisser Limit. PSI is developing new solar cells based on a ferroelectric semiconductor absorber material that could yield a 30% increase in efficiency and a 20% increase in specific power compared with current triple-junction III-V cells. These gains will be realized by exploiting a unique charge separation mechanism in ferroelectrics that enables open-circuit voltages many times the band gap, leading to maximum power conversion efficiencies exceeding the conventional Shockley-Queisser limit of 33%.

Antimicrobial Coating for Metallic Surfaces. PSI will develop novel broad spectrum antimicrobial (anti-bacterial/fungal/viral) coatings for the exposed surfaces of spacecraft metals, plastic, and electronics that will act as a bio-barrier to prevent both forward and backward contamination. This will address NASA's need for these innovative technologies to protect biological sensors and to prevent contamination of extraterrestrial bodies such as Europa, Enceladus or Mars.

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