Nanotechnology for Defense

Nanotechnology for Defense

Engineers at MIT have developed nanometer biological coating that can halt bleeding nearly instantaneously. This is a step forward, which can dramatically improve the survival of the middle soldier wounded in battle.

Whether the military nanotechnology science fiction or fact is, depending on how you look at a wide range of «nanoprilozheny» from synthetic materials with nanometer structure and to self-replicating virus killer robots. First with us now, while the second remains in the fevered imagination of enthusiasts and doomsday prophets. But still underway on how many R & D!

Nanotechnology
The term nanotechnology can be applied to anything that involves manipulating particles having, at least one dimension less than 100 nanometers (nm). — A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. Ultimately, nanotechnology contains synthesizing materials, structures, and vehicles from individual atoms and molecules.

South American nuclear physicist Richard P. Feynman is usually credited with the idea of ​​designing at the subatomic level, voiced his lectures in 1959 in the South American Physical Society. Dr. Norio Taniguchi of Tokyo Institute, as they say, made the term «nanotechnology» in 1974 to describe the procedures for the production of semiconductors, such as thin-film deposition and fragmentation of the ion beam, able to create nanometer-scale elements. The term became popular due to the book Eric Drexler «creation Propulsion: Future era of nanotechnology,» published in 1986. Inevitably that nanotechnology has joined the nuclear weapons and genetic engineering in the popular on the list of scientific concepts, which all fear.

Richard Jones, a doctor at the Institute of Physics of Sheffield, a member of the scientific community and the Tsar’s Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology in English Council on Engineering and Physical Research, argues that in order to synthesize nano-machines, scientists and engineers should be aware of how nature sovladevaet with unknown forces, which dominate at the molecular level. Advanced nanotechnology could use very small, about the size of an insect, military bots. «They could be used for the precise localization of personal goals. hidden in the midst of civilians, even in the same building, «said a report by the RAND (Research Centre in pieces. CA), published in 2011, in which also warned about the» future irregularities «in military strategy and defense planning USA.

Meanwhile, the military and defense industry inspired closer on terms other potential qualities of this technology, such as nanostructured materials. They promise us more strong and light ground vehicles and aircraft, strong armor, the best protective clothes, more frisky computers with more memory, more efficient and a cheap detectors, more massive and more than economical engines, batteries with higher charge capacity and more than efficient conversion of solar electronic energy, etc.
Already there are carbon nanotubes, fullerenes and nanofoam, but now researchers have discovered another new type of carbon material: colossal carbon tubes. These tubes in a thousand times larger than their own «nanoanalogov» they have exceptional mechanical and electronic properties and could find application from microelectronic devices to bulletproof vests wearable.

Radio on nanotubes
In 2008, Northrop Grumman announced the first full-featured radio station on carbon nanotubes. It was developed at the Institute of Illinois and its example has been demonstrated that carbon nanotubes can act as high-speed transistors, consuming one-thousandth of the energy that is needed for today’s transistors, report in the company. This could increment station battery life from a few days to several weeks.

Subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, entitled Applied NanoStructured Solutions (ANS) has developed a method of feeding carbon nanostructures (CNS) directly into the substrates using a «continuous process, similar to the industrial» that allows to include in the composite materials precisely defined percentage of the ONS. ANS can also raise the ONS on other substrates, such as metals or ceramics.

Fibers and materials allow ONS to get the next generation of composite materials with improved mechanical properties, and thermal and electrical conductivity as in metals. Such materials include electrical shielding and protection from electrostatic discharge for electronics and lighting, conductive laminates for protection against electrical interference and lightning, and conductive thermoplastics, flooded under pressure.

Initial motivated markets include commercial aircraft, helicopters, ships and ground mc. In August 2011, for example, ANS announced that its ONS fiber was used in the supports that prevent mutual impact of thermal coating and supports solar battery parts per unit of cosmic JUNO, launched to Jupiter August 5, 2011.

In February, the company Zyvex Technologies has released molecular rubber ZyMER, reinforced with carbon nanotubes to produce stronger belts and gaskets and more than serviceable tires. Zyvex also introduces carbon nanotubes in the resin matrix of plastic materials reinforced with carbon fiber using its own patented binder KENTERA. Zyvex Marine use such materials for buildings unmanned surface boats.

Armor principle acts cornstarch
Scientists from Singapore’s Agency for Science and Technology merged with Singapore institute to patent the polymer composite material, which in the ordinary state Myagenkaya and flexible, but is a hard impact, like a solution with cornstarch. As told researchers from these organizations at the announcement of scientific breakthrough in July 2010, it could change the iron plates that soldiers often worn under the protection of Kevlar.

Composite material capable of dissipating a huge impact energy, they say the researchers, consists of a combination of polymer and other materials designed to absorb the energy of the mechanism means shear thickening. Developed, and other materials, working on this principle, but Singaporeans patented method eliminates the need for the inclusion of foam and firming.

Nanotechnology is also subject to the deepening of international cooperation, in October 2009, the French national research center, the Singapore Institute of Technology and Thales company announced the development of CINTRA, joint research organization. CINTRA based in Singapore, where he studied nanotechnology for electronics, photonics and related fields.

In October last year, EADS announced plans for cooperation with RUSNANO R & D in nanotechnology, including work on increasing energy efficiency, new materials, bio-science and security.

Concerns about NATO weapon of mass destruction
Broadly report submitted in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in 2005 are many potential applications of nanotechnology, but thus voiced concerns of chemical and biological weapons. It argues that nanotechnology may make significantly better delivery mechanisms: «The ability of the microparticles to seep into the human body and its cells could make biological and chemical war even more feasible, easier to manage and directed against specific groups or individuals.» But, on the other hand, this can be countered by the ability of sensitive, selective and cheap materials and detectors to detect and bind components of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons.

The report proposes the possibility of oscillation in nanotechnology to make better nuclear weapon, as it will need critical mass of fissile material. However, it is understood that they could do better peripherals, including activation system and start, thermal and radiation shielding when upcoming miniaturization.

Nanotechnology could also assist to make a «nuclear bomb fourth generation», which could become a low-power «clean» thermonuclear weapon with a low content of nuclear fuel or completely without it, and that fuel could find application in bury missiles.

The report also cited a prominent researcher in the field of military nanotechnology Dr. Jürgen Altmann, who warns of the destabilizing effect of the automatic decision-making: «Unintended cycles of action-reaction may occur between the reverse warning systems and attack,» he said, warning that there is no trivial defensive advantages, as follows, «preventive attack and counterattack is likely to play an important role in the armed conflict.»

Since publication of the report, many defense research and development in the municipal sector focused on protecting fighter in asymmetric counterinsurgency operations, which became prevalent in the last decade.


In the field of nanotechnology, studies with the aim of strengthening materials, including their components, structures and systems, mechanical testing and fracture mechanisms of the interaction of the blast wave with complex materials, including human tissue, and ultrafast optical diagnostics of shock wave propagation and destruction due to its exposure to harsh bodies. Soldiers will benefit from a new fundamental understanding: the ability to inform lightweight materials and structure to ensure a stunning explosion protection; and to choose the means of preventing damage to people and drawing facilities caused by the explosion.

Soldier Nanotechnologies
In 2002, the South American army joined forces with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the creation of the Institute of Technology Soldiers (ISN), which operates in five strategic research areas (SRA). SRA 1 covers light nanostructured fibers and materials; in SRA 2 examines nanotechnology system to protect the fighter; SRA investigated in 3 explosive ballistic protection; SRA 4 focused on CBRN substances and IEDs; whereas SRA 5 associated with system integration.

Smart protective coating
Under SRA 01 ISN particularly interested in nanocoating, the core-shell nanostructures and rod-rod, carbon nanotubes, fibers, fabrics, layered and membrane structures in order to obtain coatings that could protect the fighter from chemical and biological weapons. «Functionalization of surfaces woven materials with the introduction of nanometer-thin layers adds virtually no weight to the clothes, but adds the ability to make controlled acts in relation to specific threats,» report to the ISN. This organization has developed an improved chemical vapor deposition and impregnation waterline, which allow self-assembly of fibers or following processing in order to obtain want functionality.

Situational awareness tools
Also in accordance with the SRA 01 ISN investigated nanocrystalline semiconductor quantum dots (QD) and their application in optoelectronics and molecular sensing. Potentially, the development of QD could lead to a huge, light, nanometer-thin flexible photodetectors (infrared and visible spectrum) light emitters and memory devices that can be connected to the network and to build in situational awareness tools soldiers.

Quantum dots can also be used in biomedical monitoring or detection of chemical and biological threats, report to the ISN, then they can serve as a «fluorescent reporters» local «nanoprostranstva.» United with a suitable chemical composition, QD can be built as a two-sided detectors own molecular environment.

Detectors on carbon nanotubes
In one third of research topics within the SRA 01 ISN Institute studies cheap, robust, low-power optical and chemical detectors based on carbon nanotubes. Such detectors could significantly make a better fighter ability to identify potential threats due to improved night vision systems and «friend or foe». The structure and geometry of the carbon nanotubes for flawless detection and imaging, the rumor in the ISN, since, in fact, they are in the rolled conductive surface active nanometer sized wires.

Using the methods of vertical feeding, taken from the microelectronics industry, researchers are exploring strategies ISN mass processing of carbon nanotubes and their integration into a single chip.


Photo — copper plate, which is the starting material for explosives consistencies used in military detonators. Copper structure may be formed by crystals, and then transformed into the explosive material. Similar chemical compound used to improve device detonation in the U.S. Navy.

Electric fiber
ISN is also exploring the possibility of electrical and opto-electronic devices of a new family of fibers, including conductors, insulators and semiconductors that can stretch for miles in length.

Work on this topic from the beginning focused on single-function devices, including: transmitting fibers with a hollow core with variable wavelength resonators emitting fiber lasers, thermal and optical fiber sensors and piezoelectric fibers. As they say in the Institute, this development could lead to smart fabrics «to complicated system level.»

Smart elastomeric membrane
Another development direction of smart materials within SRA 1 — this new elastomers, which can change shape, expand, shrink or change its hardness, elastic and suction characteristics when exposed to light, electric fields, temperature configuration and chemical substances. The idea is that they can fill the gap in between the properties of strong, tough materials and materials such as, for example, polymer gels which are responsive to such effects, but have strength and rigidity. Possible applications of the membrane comprises a temperature controlling and protecting against chemical and biological substances which are locked or opened as required. Critical technologies contain new multifunctional materials with a reactive side or main chains, also the consistency of these new nanocomposite materials with inorganic microparticles.

Healing combat damage
Under SRA 2 explores improvements in medical care and treatment in the field of battle damage criteria. These include nanomaterials and devices, which can be activated remotely or on-site skilled medical personnel, and even fighter work without the assistance of others using the respective duplicate devices. Examples of this research project include polymeric activators, creating the hardness of the request for suturing wounds or to prevent unnecessary movement in the neck or head injury.

Ballistic and mine protection
Within 3 SRA conducted research into nanotechnology, concerning the protection of fighter from explosions and ballistic threats. Combining the technology of synthetic chemistry, computational method-informed molecular structure and the creation of polymers, researchers from ISN are aimed at creating the latest generation of lung Myagenkaya materials which have significantly enhanced the potential energy absorbing characteristics. These will consist of a rigid polymer chains with navesnoymi groups at strategic locations along the polymer axis, giving them a resemblance to the parallel threads molecular «barbed wire.» The combination of chain stiffness and possible interference mounted groups (spikes) allows without damaging the overall structure to absorb mechanical energy while significant deformation, report to the ISN.

Another group of nanostructured materials, iron alloys with low density, are also one of the areas of SRA 3.3. The concept is that these materials may be crosslinked to build light and flexible, for example in the form of beams of the structure and the braided mesh, which could be an effective and comfortable for body protection.

Researchers direction SRA 4 seek out methods to improve detection of unsafe substances and devices and remedies for their fighter. In one of the subjects studied different methods of producing nanoscale polymer coatings that provide special protective function. Here ISN studies of nanometric layers ability to control the surface characteristics, allowing to attract or repel water and reduce the chemical and biological hazards. There are also studying and reconfigures multifunctional nanocoating that could be integrated into portable biosensors for the detection of poisons.

Another topic SRA 4 («ultrasensitive nanoscale chemical detectors») focuses on the recognition and description of substances with certain chemical characteristics. Here comes the manipulation of nanoscale materials elements in order to obtain certain parameters, spatial resolution capabilities, low power, versatility, ease of use or a combination of all these properties.

One group of designers working on a fluorescence microscope capable of chemically cross-mapped surface to permit 5 nanometers. Another is in search of nanoscale crystals with zero energy, which respond to specific color pair configuration. The idea is to deliver the crystals in a suspicious area, warning of chemical dangers fighter without the need of entering the affected area.


Origami for functional nano detectors
Under the theme of SRA 4.3 are referred to as work as nanostructured origami; This patented process for the production and assembly already successfully demonstrated in support of the ISN. Process for producing a multilayer three-dimensional nanosystems is their assembly of two-dimensional surfaces. The process consists of etching nanoscale region multifunctional dimensional membrane and folding its sections in sequence.

This solution allows sformirovyvaetsya at once complex geometric and multilayer circuit; it is ideally suited for integration into different chemical, electronic, optical, mechanical and other devices. This major development finds its application in numerous easy and cheap systems of perception and threat detection.

Communication odezhka
Fifth sphere of strategic research at the Institute ISN — is the creation and application of nanoscale materials and devices and their awareness of the devil inside embedded systems. One group of researchers, for example, working in the field neradiochastotnyh on woven base, means of communication, including integrated in a uniform laser communication systems. The main issues include multimaterialnyh properties of optical fibers on the reaction time, sensitivity and noise management. We also study the possibility of including in the fibers woven together with the hardware and software necessary to connect them to the data acquisition system; Than we will question the reliability of the transmission and receipt of information.

Evaluation of the EU (European Union) levels of technological readiness
About a year back the EU Nanotechnology Organization (hereinafter Organization) released a tabular assessment of technology readiness levels TRL (Technology Readiness Level) for a variety of nanotechnology for a broad range of applications, many of which will have a distinct military significance. Systematization TRL this Organization is a lightweight five-level option devyatiurovnevoy scheme used in defense circles. In both schemes TRL 1 indicates that the step is thought basic research; TRL 2 Technology are subject to applied research with a lightweight systematization, they contain levels of 2 to 5 military schemes; TRL 3 anticipates work on samples that corresponds to levels 6 and 7 for the military; whereas TRL 4 and 5 on the scale of the reflect the introduction and market maturity, corresponding to levels 8 and 9 on the scale of the military.

Create nanocomposites and nanostructured metals, could, for example, potentially opening the door to easy and cheap creation of mc. Organization led TRL nanocomposites between 2 and 5 depending on the specific materials, citing a number of obstacles for commercial use, including pricing, availability, huge pieces of decent properties, operational reliability and availability of new materials for automatic large-scale production. Position nanostructured metals business ranks simply by placing small components, for example, screws, 4 and 5, and medium and large — to levels 2 — 3. Reduced levels is determined by the highest cost of production, technical limitations on the creation of larger parts and, as in the case of nanocomposites, lack of facilities for large-scale production.

Silicon nanowires as a substitute for graphite negative electrodes in lithium batteries promise to increase the power density and durability, but the organization has led to their level of TRL as 1 — 2, citing incomplete awareness theory, the lack of sufficient knowledge about the materials and manufacturing processes.


Nanocoating and lubricants promise to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions from petrol engines, diesel engines and gas turbines for all types of mc. In Organizations note that hitherto need big investment, especially for applications that require the production of large components, their readiness is assessed as TRL 3 — 4. Nanotechnology in what used graphene classified on Levels 1 and 2. Graphene — a form of carbon which represents the sheet width of one atom; it has great potential outside the «Silicon (Si)» Electronics and will find its use in monitors and photovoltaic cells with strong and conductive composite materials.

It is clear that some nanotechnology still show themselves as the «extra-terrestrial» innovative both in civilian and defense sectors, because this area of ​​science yet so young.

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