1. Nanoscale/Bio-inspired and MetaMaterials
The research in this thrust area exploits advances in nano/micro-scale and bio-inspired materials, including computationally based materials science, in order to develop unique microstructures, material properties, and functionalities. This area also includes efforts to develop the underlying science for the behavior of materials whose properties have been engineered at the nano/micro-scale level, including metamaterials, bio-inspired materials for sensing and actuation, and materials that are designed to mimic biological materials from molecular to macroscopic function. Specific examples of areas of interest include materials that can self-repair, adapt, and respond for soldier protection against chemical and biological threats and optical based metamaterial imaging systems capable of detecting objects in cluttered environments and around or through structural obscurants.
FY 2014 Accomplishments:
- Designed materials with decoupled property combinations (e.g., strength/density, stiffness/thermal expansion) using architecture-to-property trade space capability.
- Demonstrated fabrication methods amenable to scaling and that permit architectural control capable of maintaining decoupled properties.
- Demonstrated targeted enhancement to material properties (e.g., tailored coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE)/energy dissipation and load bearing stiffness).
- Established manufacturability and amenability to scale up and provided fabrication and characterization data package.
- Initiated development of synthetic methods for preparing large sequence controlled polymer libraries.
FY 2015 Plans:
- Develop a method for screening non-natural polymer libraries for designed properties such as binding to target molecules. - Develop a method for sequencing non-natural polymers at low concentrations.
- Explore and develop modeling tools for the physics of scattering in metamaterials and the application of using ultra-short laser pulses to see and detect objects through various obscurants.
FY 2016 Plans:
- Use non-natural polymer synthesis and screening system to create affinity reagents against DARPA defined targets.
- Develop strategy to adapt the non-natural polymer synthesis and screening system to generate catalysts.
- Investigate engineered optical metamaterials for manipulating optical fields in spatial, spectral and temporal domains to enable a single optical device to simultaneously perform multiple functions in different domains.
- Investigate linear refraction metamaterials for minimizing optical aberrations and improving performance of imaging and non- imaging optics over wide angles of light incidence, while minimizing optics size and weight.