Nano Research Leads to NASA Contract

Poly Adaptive, LLC, an Arkansas nanotechnology development company, has received a $100,000 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to use new nanoscale materials to drastically reduce dust on spacecraft surfaces.

Dust is a major problem on spacecraft surfaces. Technology exists that uses electrodynamic shields (EDS) to mitigate dust. But NASA is searching for advances that can more efficiently maintain dust-free conditions on solar panels and optical lenses and other mission-critical space-based surfaces.

“Current EDS designs use metallic electrodes that reduce the amount of radiation reaching solar panels, reducing panel efficiencies,” said Alexandru Biris, director and chief scientist of the Nanotechnology Center at UALR. “Poly Adaptive’s use of these new nanoscale materials for transparent and flexible electronic dust shields will mitigate the build-up of this dust without sacrificing solar panel efficiency.”

The new company brings to the marketplace research developed by Biris and his UALR nanotechnology team. Under Poly Adaptive’s SBIR award, the company will investigate the UALR-developed application and use new nanoscale materials to address severe limitations of existing electrodynamic shields.

The technology promises numerous non-NASA commercial applications, including solar panels, windows, windshields, optical devices, pharmaceutical devices, and other products that are impacted by the build-up of dust particles.

Charlie Buhler, Poly Adaptive principal investigator, said the company sees great potential in electronic dust shield systems for commercial solar panels.

“Large-scale solar installations are usually located in sun-drenched desert areas where dry weather and winds sweep dust into the air and deposit it onto the surface of solar panels, reducing their energy generating efficiencies,” he said. “An automatic, self-cleaning system for solar panel surfaces would contribute to the economic benefits of this green source of energy. The Poly Adaptive dust mitigation technology should be a viable, cost effective solution to this problem.”

Poly Adaptive was founded to commercialize nanotechnology research discoveries made by researchers at the Nanotechnology Center of UALR and holds a license with UALR for this project’s subject technology. The firm’s co-founders include several successful Arkansas business and technology experts.

For additional information contact Michael B. Miller at

Source: UALR News

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