Snapshot Spectral Sensor for On-the-Move Detection of Surface Contaminants with a UAS

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a research program from the U.S. Army to develop an advanced long wave infrared reflectance system based on a Quantum Cascade Laser Transmitter, Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometer and a compact, low cost, passive optical beam director mounted on a small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

PSI’s beam director will work cooperatively with the laser transmitter and spectral receiver co-mounted to a Nuclear Biological Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle (NBCRV) to enable detection of persistent ground contaminants while on-the-move. The architecture minimizes SWAP burden on the UAS, locates the system’s higher cost components off the UAS, reduces required power draw on the UAS batteries, and does not require data transmission from the UAS to the NBCRV. The optical design of the system eliminates the need for active focusing to compensate for uneven terrain. Performance projections indicate that the detection architecture is capable of achieving a 90% probability of detecting Chemical Warfare Agents dosed on a surface within 15 feet of the UAS entering a contaminated area.

PSI’s technology will enhance chemical reconnaissance capability for the warfighter. The envisioned system will provide on-the-move, non-contact surface detection and identification of Chemical Warfare Agents, Toxic Industrial Chemicals, and other Non-Traditional Agents without a ground vehicle entering the contaminated area.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Julia Dupuis
Vice President, Tactical Systems
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003