Sydor Instruments LLC is using a $1 million federal grant to help develop, and ultimately commercialize, a high-speed X-ray detector for the study of material behavior.
The Chili firm, a division of Sydor Technologies LLC, received the award from the U.S. Department of Energy through the Small Business Technology Transfer program. Sydor is working on the product in collaboration with researchers at Cornell University.
The grant is for phase two of the project. Phase one was a $150,000 grant awarded last year where the focus was on the detector’s design.
The second phase of the program will advance the phase one detector design, creating prototypes for testing. The goal is to eventually create a product that can be manufactured to meet market needs, company leaders said.
The product is called the Keck-PAD fast-framing hybrid X-ray pixel array detector and is a camera that can capture a short movie of transient phenomena, said Mark Katafiaz, Sydor Instruments’ general manager.
Transient phenomena are fast changes in materials that are subjected to stresses or other influences.
The product will be used primarily in the synchrotron radiation market, which uses X-rays to analyze materials.
Synchrotron light sources such as the Advanced Proton Source at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, the National Synchrotron Light Source II at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island and hundreds of others around the world create X-rays that can be used for various scientific experiments, Katafiaz said.
“These researchers are trying to understand what happens to materials under these conditions, and in order to do so, they use X-rays in a similar manner as one would use X-rays to see the internal structure of the human body or contents in one’s luggage,” he said.
One such application is the study of transient phenomena associated with fuel sprays, Katafiaz said.
Another is material behavior under extreme conditions such as compression, heat or collision; or the study of material formations during rapid processing such as combustion, commonly observed during ballistic events and vehicle collisions, he added.
In these cases, the researchers use much higher energy X-rays with very fast pulse times to see how a material will change over an extremely short period of time in response to an external influence, he explained.
The device being developed can capture up to a dozen successive X-ray images in a short time, faster than current technology is capable, creating continuous viewing, rather than single images, he noted.
Katafiaz said he estimates there will be prototypes in the field by the end of 2018, with orders accepted not long after that.
Sydor Technologies has two primary operating units: Sydor Instruments, which specializes in high-speed imaging systems and diagnostics, and Sabre Ballistics, which specializes in ballistic and impact test systems.
There are 20 employees at Sydor Instruments and 14 at Sabre in the United Kingdom.
Katafiaz expects to add two employees locally to help with work related to the grant.
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