REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (April 13, 2017) -- Two scientists at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center were recent winners of the Foreign Technology Assessment Support program. The applicants submitted proposals for funds to support separate projects.

Dr. Michael Scalora applied to support his research that deals with "Enhanced Absorption in Stopped-light Photonic Nanostructures for Efficient Sensing", with a partnership in Lithuania and Spain. According to Scalora, his team has maintained a professional and cordial relationship with Spanish and Lithuanian researchers for almost 20 years through ongoing projects and workshops supported by the Army's International Technology Center-Atlantic. The effort will produce both software and new optimized photonic and plasmonic nanostructures, designs, and devices with improved performance over comparable state of the art devices.

The ultimate goal is to create new, disruptive Opto-Electro-Plasmonic devices to empower future Soldiers with state-of-the-art systems, sensors, and weapons to enable a clear advantage over eventual adversaries. "We hope to leverage the expertise of the whole team. I believe there is much potential for new results."

Future studies in this field can help pave the way to new devices with added capabilities. Researchers hope to explore new physical phenomena at the nanoscale, in order to maintain and transfer the technological superiority of the future Warfighter, while exploiting technical breakthroughs for near-term applications.

"The definition of basic research is that you explore new physical phenomena and develop new ideas now only to become a reality in ten or twenty years," explained Scalora. "In order to maintain a lead in technology you have to be aware of what is going on in the rest of the world. Working with international partners allows you to have those different points of view."

Jeff Gaddes' application was in response to a need for a new process "Finishing Direct Metal Laser Sintering Parts", with partners in Switzerland. The Micro Machining Process is a mechanical immersion process that reduces metal surface roughness. This technology can be used to substantially increase the fatigue life of Direct Metal Laser Sintering additively manufactured parts.

DMLS process can produce highly complex parts with high resolution that are impossible to make with traditional machining processes. Aviation components manufactured by DMLS can provide substantial performance gains, mitigate obsolescence issues, and reduce lead time. Increasing the fatigue life of DMLS parts enables adoption of additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing can increase performance, reduce life cycle cost, reduce lead time, increase availability of spare parts, and increase mission readiness.

"The entire Manufacturing Technology team contributed to the proposal," explained Gaddes. "This project complements existing additive manufacturing efforts. The application process was straight forward. My experience was positive."

The FTAS Program, funded by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, provides initial resources for Subject Matter Experts to perform technology assessments, basic research studies, and test and evaluation efforts of unique foreign research and technology.

"Programs like FTAS make it possible for AMRDEC scientists to keep informed of scientific progress abroad; increase and foster scientific knowledge; continue to nurture international relations to foster technological renewal; and remain at the forefront of scientific advancements in their chosen fields of endeavor," said Guidry.

The FTAS Program funds science and research for preliminary assessment of technologies which is proven successful may be transitioned into a laboratory project other research program. The projects are typically funded $75,000 to $150,000 for a 12 month assessment. Proposals are developed from technology finds reported formally through Technology Information Papers.

All DOD organizations have the authority to generate TIPs and submitted them to Global Science and Technology Watch/TIPs On-Line. Tisha Guidry works with the International Programs Office which receives the proposal submissions. Guidry said that in the past two years, two applicants had applied each time and all had received the full amount requested.

"I would encourage others to submit a proposal during the next annual round. There is always an advantage to use outside funding," said Guidry. Scalora echoed, "Just take the time to work on a proposal. A little funding can go a long way."

With these new international collaborations we can leverage new capabilities and cement ties with scientists in other parts of the world. "This program was a great way to find collaboration and partnerships," said Gaddes.

With this effort, AMRDEC can continue to assess and develop new and emerging relevant military technologies in defense of the Nation.

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U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center is operationally aligned to the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, and administratively aligned to the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. This joint alignment established a closely woven research, development, acquisition, and sustainment team to provide increased responsiveness to the nation's Warfighters. AMRDEC has the mission to deliver collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions.