Our electrical engineers and technicians possess the advanced capabilities required to carry out projects that involve the design, fabrication and testing of electronics components and systems. We have experience in analog and digital hardware design, printed circuit board layout, high power devices, miniature high-speed motors and drives, MEMS-based devices, digital signal processing, and FPGAs.
Most of our hardware development projects now contain some electronic and software content – for example: integrated sensors, microprocessor-based control systems, and precision power supplies. We also perform projects that are solely focused on electronics development, such as battery management systems, an aircraft carrier catapult slot width measuring system, and radiation-hardened cryocooler compressor drive and control electronics.
Examples of our results include:
- Design, fabrication, and testing of an electronics board for signal generation, signal acquisition, communication, and processing for a portable mass spectrometer system.
- Advanced battery management system for lithium-ion batteries.
- Improved power distribution system for a combat vehicle.
- A novel heading sensor that is integrated with the towing cable of a sonar array.
- Dual-frequency ultrasound instrument for directly measuring micro bubbles in human tissue as a way to predict, prevent, and treat decompression sickness.
Creare applies its expertise in electronics, chemistry, and thermal management to solve problems in the growing field of high-performance batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are very attractive for many applications due to their high power and energy densities. However, these high energy density electrochemical systems are also prone to catastrophic failures, including fires and explosions, resulting from exothermic runaway reactions. Our work has produced innovative solutions through enhanced thermal management, high performance Battery Management Systems (BMS), and advanced modeling and optimization design tools. Creare’s multidisciplinary approach to solving the complex challenges associated with these energy storage systems is transforming Li-ion battery usage for applications ranging from aircraft, naval ships, undersea watercraft, and electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.
Creare’s flagship SafetyCool battery technologies address battery safety challenges through a two-pronged approach:
- Better cooling – our proprietary heat spreader improves battery safety with a 3X reduction in thermal resistance.
- Improved battery management – proprietary algorithms and protection hardware utilize a limited sensor suite to detect and remove emergent electrochemical faults and internal short circuits from the battery load prior to thermal runaway. This military-grade BMS also includes high accuracy State of Charge (SOC), State of Life (SOL), State of Health (SOH), and other features.
These technologies provide significant benefits that can readily be applied to a wide range of formats, chemistries, and power levels. These two independent, but complementary technologies, form a passive heat removal, passive-signal, passive-sensing paradigm that is both powerful and transformative compared to alternative commercial solutions.
Creare develops high performance power conversion and management electronics for a variety of space, terrestrial, and military applications. Our systems meet challenging specifications for key attributes including extreme environments, efficiency, mass/volume, control strategy, and radiation tolerance.
Here is a sampling of some representative projects:
- Universal tactical cryocooler drive used to power cryocoolers for military superconducting sensor and communication electronics.
- High-temperature, silicon carbide solid-state circuit breaker for hybrid electric combat vehicles.
- Lightweight power conversion modules to support our turbo-Brayton space cryocoolers to reduce mass and increase reliability in high-radiation environments.
Health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS) are sensor-based monitoring systems that use data collection and analysis techniques to help ensure the availability and reliability of safety-critical systems on aircraft, ships and other vehicles. It has been demonstrated that condition-based maintenance, where faults are detected and repaired before catastrophic failure, can enhance vehicle safety, increase equipment availability and reduce operating costs.
Creare is an active contributor in this rapidly developing field. Here is a summary of our recent work:
- For the US Navy, we developed an environmental monitoring system for aircraft subjected to acquire, store, and analyze corrosion-related data to reduce the costs of inspection, repair, and replacement of corrosion-damaged components.
- Using neural network-based prognostic algorithms, we designed and fabricated a hydraulic pump health monitoring system (P-HUMS) for aircraft hydraulic systems, and demonstrated its ability to detect several of the most common pump problems prior to actual pump failure. This technology won an innovation award from AFRL during 2011.
- Eight of our catapult slot-width measuring systems have been deployed to support the entire fleet of US aircraft carriers to monitor the health and maintenance needs for the catapult launch cylinders. Creare’s “Gap Gear” has reduced the size and weight of existing maintenance tools by more than 80% and reduced labor costs by 94%.
- We have successfully demonstrated a functional, accurate, and robust HUMS to automatically monitor the aircraft Repeatable Release Holdback Bar (RRHB), which holds the aircraft back against full engine power just prior to launch from an aircraft carrier.
Creare conducts development projects to design and deliver a wide variety of electronics-based medical devices. Our expertise includes imaging, image and signal processing, sensors systems and mobile health applications.
Examples of recent projects include:
- Fabrication of highly sensitive multi-layer ultrasonic transducer arrays for medical imaging.
- Development of a hearing threshold screening device that performs automated audiometry and is controlled through a mobile platform.
- Design of a superconducting radio frequency probe for high-resolution MR microscopy.
- Development of diver safety system that includes a miniaturized sensor suite that monitors bubble formation, breathing gas composition, tissue inert gas tension, and other common physiological metrics.
- Development of compact, cordless handheld electronics and high-frequency ultrasonic transducers for an individual-use aerosol drug delivery device.
- Demonstration of an oral appliance for treating obstructive sleep apnea.
Leveraging our control systems, software, algorithm development, and electronics expertise, we have designed and constructed a variety of guidance and navigation sensors and systems for UAVs, satellites and other vehicles. These systems have utilized innovative sensor fusion algorithms to incorporate GPS, IMU, video, and altimeter data that enhanced mission capabilities.
Examples of recent projects include:
- Development of a miniature, folded-optic star tracker for use as an accurate orientation sensor on small satellites. Folded optics is a method using multiple reflective surfaces to significantly reduce the length of a telescopic lens.
- Development and testing of a solid-state heading sensor for use in advanced towed array sonar systems.
- Passive inertial navigation system for a UAV that combines IMU and altimeter data with magnetometer measurements and a magnetic field map of the earth.
- An inertial navigation system for high altitude UAV that is augmented with one or more star tracking cameras to provide accurate positional data.
- Design and fabrication of a MEMS-based nano-g accelerometer for the measurement of orbital drag in LEO using small satellites.