Improving the Performance of Nanomaterials for Military Applications

Luna Innovations Incorporated has been awarded a $3.9 million subcontract, from General Dynamics Information Technology in support of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to continue work improving the performance of nanomaterials for military applications. In this program, Luna’s product development team will evaluate prototypes using their exclusive nanomaterials applied to real-world conditions. Demonstrations of the commercial viability of proposed nanotechnologies will include diagnostics and therapeutics for military medicine and alternative energy solutions using organic solar cells.

“By manipulating the properties of our proprietary nanomaterials, we can tune the materials to fit desired applications,” said Charles Gause, Vice President of Corporate Development at Luna Innovations. “To date, we have produced 27 different species of our Trimetasphere molecule and to maximize the potential of this carbon nanomaterial technology, proof-of-concept via application-specific testing and prototyping is necessary.”

Prior and ongoing funded research has demonstrated that the use of Luna’s exclusive carbon nanomaterials could dramatically enhance magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) while reducing the potential toxic side effects prevalent with existing chelate-based contrasts agent. “This program will continue to build on our past progress in medical imaging,” said Gause. “We also hope to further advance our carbon nanomaterials for military medical applications and investigate new areas such as the promotion of wound healing.”

Through this program Luna also plans to further demonstrate the enhancement of organic solar cells as a potential alternative energy solution. Increasing efficiencies of light conversion to electrical energy of organic solar cells is required to make them commercially viable. The company has made advances on a key parameter, known as “open circuit voltage”, or Voc, that is essential for improving organic solar cell efficiency. “Luna has already increased Voc by 35% over the standard reference devices,” added Gause. “In this final phase of the program we will continue working towards the achievement of even higher efficiencies in order to make organic solar cells commercially viable.”

“This program is vital to Luna’s growth in the area of nanomaterial commercialization,” stated Kent Murphy, Luna Chairman and CEO, “We will focus on delivering for our defense customer and keep an eye on driving the opportunity for further product development in the private sector.”

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