The Center for Sensor Systems and Technology (CSST) designs and develops innovative sensors utilizing proprietary technology for its own use and for delivery to private, academic and government customers. CSST- developed monitors permit turn-key operation and include easy-to-use data acquisition software which allows integration of the sensor into larger systems.
Recent customers include: the German Aerospace Center (DLR), University of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, FZ Julich, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of Washington, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health and NASA Ames and Glenn Research Centers.
Aerodyne Research has developed a number of successful partnerships with private industry with the goal of producing commercially available instrumentation and sensor systems. Generally involving Aerodyne-proprietary technology, these partnerships typically entail close technical and business working relationships. Prospective partners and collaborators should contact Dr. Freedman, CSST Director or Dr. Charles E. Kolb, President of Aerodyne Research, Inc.
Sensor System Examples
CSST has developed, built and marketed a state-of-the-art monitor for the detection of ambient levels of nitrogen dioxide, a criteria pollutant. The monitor employs cavity attenuated phase shift (CAPS) techniques to measure the presence of nitrogen dioxide using absorption at 450 nm. The rack-mounted instrument is capable of detecting 0.1 ppb levels of NO2 with 10 s sampling and requires less than 1 liter per minute of sample flow. A fast reponse version (1 s) with lower sensitivity (1 ppb) is also available.
Similar in nature to the CAPS NO2 monitor, the CAPS PMex monitor measures optical extinction (the sum of scattering and absorption) caused by the presence of particles in the environment. The rack-mounted instrument operates at one of five prechosen wavelengths - near infrared [760 nm], far red [660 nm], red [630 nm], green [530 nm] or blue [450 nm] - with completely autonomous operation, requiring no expendables. The instrument has a time response of ~ 1 s with a detection limit (3σ) of 2.5 Mm-1; with1 s sampling, the detection level improves to <0.3 Mm-1 at 1 minute sampling. This monitor is also available for purchase.
CAPS PMssa Particle Single Scattering Albedo Monitor
The CAPS particle single scattering albedo monitor, PMssa, provides separate measurements of both particle-induced light extinction and scattering within the same sample volume, enabling accurate and precise measurement of the single scattering albedo for particles with mobility diameters less than 2 microns. In order to enable this, it incorporates an integrating nephelometer within the extinction measurement cell. The response in both channels is highly linear from 0-1000 Mm-1; the noise level in both channels is < 1 Mm-1 with 1 s integration time. The scattering channel is calibrated versus the extinction using purely scattering particles (i.e., single scattering albedo of 1.0).
Environmental Monitor for Historical Documents
CSST developed, built and delivered a non-intrusive, optical monitor capable of both monitoring the level of humidity and and detecting air leaks by measuring trace amounts of oxygen within the argon-filled, hermetically sealed enclosures which house the nation's Charters of Freedom (Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights). Coupled to the encasements using optical fibers, the sensor system utilizes proprietary spectroscopic sensor technology developed by Aerodyne for the measurement of both water vapor and oxygen. It is currently being used by National Archives and Records Administration personnel to ascertain the environmental integrity of the newly-dedicated encasements.
Fast Response Airborne Humidity Sensor
The high speed (5 Hz frequency response), autonomously-operated, humidity sensor is designed to provide highly accurate atmospheric water vapor (humidity) measurements on board research aircraft. Deployed on board a Twin Otter aircraft operated by the Navy's Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) located at the Naval Postgraduate School, this sensor has successfully provided accurate water vapor measurements in both clear air and within cloud boundaries without any hysteresis. It has been shown to provide far more accurate humidity profiles than competing technologies.
Plant Health Monitor
CSST has developed two versions of a plant health monitor which is sensitive to the photosynthetic activity of green plants and thus to their "health". One system relies on the passive detection of sunlight-induced chlorophyll fluorescence, utilizing a patented technology which allows the sensor to operate in the presence of ambient sunlight which would otherwise provide an insurmountable interference. A second system incorporates its own light source in order to induce the chlorophyll fluorescence.
Insulated Glass (IG) Window Seal Integrity Sensor
Argon-filled insulated glass (IG) windows are currently filled and shipped without testing for window seal integrity. CSST personnel, using patented technology for the detection of gaseous oxygen, built and demonstrated a non-intrusive, non-contact sensor system to detect the unwanted inflow of air into the window unit. This sensor system was designed with input from the IG window manufacturing industry to ensure compatibility with its testing procedures.