The Sensor Systems division was established in early 2007, enabling the focus of UDRI resources on objectives relating to sensor-related research and development. The division works with both industry and government groups, utilizing full-time UDRI researchers, academic researchers, students and others as required.
The major technology areas being addressed within the Sensor Systems division are chemical and biological sensors and remote sensing. An overriding focus of the division is layered sensing, which involves fusion of chemical and biological sensor data with remote sensor data in order to provide complete sensing/data acquisition solutions for the purpose of enabling universal situation awareness.
Nanostructured materials and modified nanoparticles are being investigated as sensing elements for a number of chemical and/or bio sensing applications. Applications important to Homeland Security and the Department of Defense include the detection of explosives in air and bio-agents in food or drinking water. Applications in drug discovery and medical research involve detection of specific metabolites or biochemicals within live biological cells and the development of targeted enhancement agents for medical resonance imaging, respectively. Modified nanomaterials being investigated for these applications include TiO2, carbon nanostructures and liposomes.
The Nanostructured Sensors group investigates new types of functional metallic and semiconductor nanoparticles, with potential applications in highly energetic materials, drug delivery, and novel sensors which utilize quantum phenomena on the nanoscale.
Research on sensors for remote sensing applications is mostly focused on optical or electro-optical sensors. Applications important to the Air Force include persistent surveillance camera systems. These systems typically use either large, high-resolution image sensors or arrays of smaller, lower resolution sensors. Research involves the development of advanced heterogeneous computing systems capable of processing the large amounts of data produced by these cameras, as well as low-weight, low-power, and low-cost embedded processing systems. Other research areas include the development and implementation of advanced 3-D imaging algorithms, hyperspectral imaging algorithms, and image enhancement algorithms.