scientists in laboratory

DEFENCE & SECURITY

Introduction

In an evolving threat environment where the protection of equipment, personnel and data is increasingly important, nanotechnology presents the opportunity to stay one step ahead of adversaries.

We create ultra-lightweight defence materials for enhanced military capability and survivability.

Advanced Material Development (AMD) creates ultra-lightweight, cost-effective and sustainable multifunctional defence materials, advanced sensors and electronic devices for enhanced military capability and survivability.
We manipulate nanoscale materials to control the inherent electrical, optical, mechanical and thermal properties of the host material to form bespoke technologies that provide stealth, protection and sensing for multi-domain applications.
Our solutions are being proven under funding from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), the US Department of Defense (DOD) and in the commercial sector, and we now seek partners and exploitation routes within defence.
Here we present examples of what can be achieved with our next-generation nanotechnology.
scientist in laboratory

Stealth

Radar absorbing materials

We have developed a broadband radio frequency (RF) absorption capability using ultrathin and lightweight single-layer and laminated nanomaterial coatings.
The technology can be optimised to match a material’s rheology, mechanical and thermal properties, enabling integration with composite matrices and foam structures, further enhancing the absorption performance.
The technology is being developed to help reduce the RF signatures of aerospace, ground and maritime vehicles and reduce radar interference from wind farms.

Active thermal camouflage

We have developed technology that can obscure an object’s signature from infra-red (IR) gaze at the flick of a switch.
Our device can control the apparent thermal emissivity of personnel or equipment, keeping high-value assets and people safe.
Our IR camouflage concept is scalable, ultra-thin and lightweight, for application across platform types.
The same technology can be used to provide thermal management and, potentially, tactical IR covert communications.

" Sustainability is important to us. Where possible, we use green input energy sources, eco-friendly synthesising methods and environmentally neutral chemical processes."

We place sustainability at the heart of our commercialisation process, aiming to reduce our business waste and contribute to the circular economy.

Protection

Laser weapon eyewear and sensor protection

We are developing stable, thin, flexible films and coatings that counter laser-directed energy weapons.
This technology can be integrated simply into personal equipment, such as visors and goggles or provide electro-optic protection for cameras and sensors.
As a film, it could also provide anti-laser dazzle protection on the cockpit windscreen, offering an extra layer of protection for the pilot against directed energy weapons. Our materials provide a sharper frequency response, improved stability and are lower cost than alternative technologies.

Electromagnetic shielding with ultra-lightweight nanomaterial coatings

Our advanced, hybrid, nanocarbon-based inks and coatings provide a non-metallic electromagnetic (EM) and RF shielding technology.
The shielding provides broadband protection, which is lighter, thinner and lower cost than comparative technologies. It can be integrated into composites or applied as a coating onto numerous substrate materials and can withstand harsh environmental conditions.
Weapon Sector Research Framework (WSRF) funding helped develop enhanced capabilities to protect electronic systems in both defence and the commercial sector.

"We place great value on our reach into academia. Partnering with leading universities in the field of materials science has been and remains core to the AMD strategy."

Recent defence research programme funding has provided further support to our efforts as we add further research fellow positions at our partner Universities of Sussex & Surrey.

Sensing

CBRN sensors

We aim to provide highly selective and sensitive chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) sensing platforms that are based on nanomaterial and photonic-crystal technology.
An array of sensors could allow for fast determination of a specific threat through a change in resistance or a colour change upon exposure to external analytes such as chemical warfare agents.
This novel approach enables low-cost, lightweight, passive wearable ChemBio sensors that can be incorporated into or onto every warfighter’s combat uniform. The technology might also be integrated into gas masks as a residual life indicator.

Structural health monitoring

Our multifunctional materials enable resistive sensors for embedded structural health monitoring that have a unique combination of extremely high sensitivity and a large dynamic range.
Embedded in system substrates, these sensors could provide valuable real-time data on a platform or a component’s structural integrity including the detection of structural fatigue and micro-cracking.

Flexible electronics

Our highly conductive 2D nanomaterial inks can be printed or embedded into flexible materials and fabrics as small-scale electronics or antenna applications.
These flexible electronics can match the thermal and mechanical properties of host structures for potential ‘Internet of Things’ devices, wearables, and covert and medical use.

Domain applications

Stealth

Radar absorbing materials
Thermal camouflage

Protection

Laser weapon protection
Electromagnetic shielding

Sensing

CBRN sensors
Structural health
Flexible Electronics
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