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NARLabs' Truly Radiation-Hardened Fiber Light Sources Product Received the Distinguished 2015 R&D 100 Award

NSPO 2015/11/16

Following the recipient of gold medal award in the iENA Nuremberg Invention Fair in 2014, NARLab' "Truly Radiation-Hardened Fiber Light Sources" product, a key component in the space-grade fiber-optic gyroscope, received 2015 R&D 100 award in IT/Electrical category. The R&D 100 Awards, called the "Oscars of Innovation", recognize and celebrate the top 100 technology products of the year. All US national labs, NASA affiliated labs, MIT Lincoln Lab, and major companies submitted over one thousand products in total into competitions. About three hundred products was selected in the initial round as the finalists, then the top one hundred most innovative products of the year was picked by a committee to receive the award. This patented truly radiation-hardened technology in rare-earth doped fiber has vast application potential. It has being employed in a 4-axis space-grade fiber-optic gyroscope for the FS-7 self-reliant satellite developed by NSPO/NARLabs. In addition, it is able to sustain the fiber amplifier gain under severe space radiation, and hence greatly improve the reliability of space laser communication systems for a factor of one thousand improvement in bandwidth over the current RF link, and hence allow volume data collected in space to be relayed to ground in real or near real time without degradation. Moreover, being a truly radiation-hardened fiber light source in a distributed fiber sensor system, it is capable to detect critical radiation parameters and communicate with the outside world even under severe radiation environment such as nuclear disaster event. In the future, this unique radiation-hardened technology can also be employed in Boeing's patented invention of laser/nuclear driven engine which requires no liquid or solid fuel in future aviation or space flights, making deep space travel a reality.