Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List


The identification and transformation of substances

Showing 29 results for Chemistry RSS
Raman spectroscopy uses lasers to measure molecular vibrations to quickly and accurately identify unknown substances. Ultraviolet (UV) lasers have the optimal wavelength for Raman spectroscopy at stand-off distances, but the Defense Department’s (DoD) current UV-based tactical detection systems are large and expensive and have limited functionality. A new DARPA program seeks technology that may make UV-based detection equipment more readily available in the field.
Destroying chemical warfare agents in bulk is a challenge for the military and international community. Current methods of eradication, such as incineration or hydrolysis, create toxic waste that requires further processing. And the logistics required to transport large stockpiles from storage to a disposal site can be risky and expensive. Additionally, different types of chemicals require different methods to make them safe, so each agent requires a specific neutralization procedure – one size doesn’t fit all. To address these challenges, DARPA has announced the Agnostic Compact Demilitarization of Chemical Agents (ACDC) program and issued a Broad Agency Announcement solicitation today:
Synthetic molecules are the foundation for many products critical to the Department of Defense’s mission—from active pharmaceutical ingredients found in a medic’s kit to materials in modern batteries and fuel cells. Current processes for designing and producing new synthetic molecules, however, are very slow and can take years between the initial design of a molecular solution and when it’s available for use in large quantities.
For millennia, materials have mattered—so much so that entire eras have been named for them. From the Stone Age to the Bronze Age to the Iron Age and beyond, breakthroughs in materials have defined what was technologically possible and fueled revolutions in fields as diverse as electronics, construction and medicine. Today, DARPA is pursuing the next big advances in this fundamentally important domain.
DARPA’s Agnostic Compact Demilitarization of Chemical Agents (ACDC) program recently awarded two contracts to develop prototypes of a transportable disposal system able to convert dangerous chemicals into safe output, such as harmless soil, using minimal consumables and creating no hazardous waste. If successful, the system could be used to safely destroy chemical warfare agent stockpiles on site without having to transport the highly toxic chemicals to a remote location for processing. The approaches could also ultimately find application in a variety of industrial chemical neutralization and clean-up efforts. The awardees are Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), San Antonio, Texas, and SRI International, Menlo Park, California.