News Release 

All-in-one device uses microwave power for defense, medicine

Purdue University

Research News

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - An invention from Purdue University innovators may provide a new option to use directed energy for biomedical and defense applications.

The Purdue invention uses composite based nonlinear transmission lines (NLTLs) for a complete high-power microwave system, eliminating the need for multiple auxiliary systems. The interest in NLTLs has increased in the past few decades because they offer an effective solid-state alternative to conventional vacuum-based, high-power microwave generators that require large and expensive external systems, such as cryogenic electromagnets and high-voltage nanosecond pulse generators.

NLTLs have proven effective for applications in the defense and biomedical fields. They create directed high-power microwaves that can be used to disrupt or destroy adversary electronic equipment at a distance. The same technology also can be used for biomedical devices for sterilization and noninvasive medical treatments.

"We created a new NLTL device that reduces the bulkiness of current options and offers new opportunities to protect our country and help patients in a man-portable form factor," said Andrew Fairbanks, a Ph.D. student and graduate research assistant in Purdue's College of Engineering. "In engineering, we are concerned about size, weight, power and cost. Our invention helps address all of these."

Allen Garner, an associate professor of nuclear engineering, led the Purdue team. The researchers created a novel device using composite-based NLTLs as complete high-power microwave systems, encompassing high-voltage pulse and high-power microwave formation. The Purdue device combines the elements of traditional NLTLs into a composite-based system and eliminates typical bulky auxiliary equipment.

The system is charged using a DC high-voltage supply and discharged using a high-voltage, gas-based switch. The system eliminates the need for external pulse generation and is more rugged due to the solid-state construction.

This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research (Grant No. N00014-18-1-2341).

Fairbanks presented the Purdue technology in March at the Directed Energy Professional Society annual Science and Technology Symposium.

The innovators worked with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent their technology.

"It has been very beneficial to our team and our advancement of this technology to have OTC here at Purdue," Fairbanks said. "OTC and other resources from Purdue Research Foundation provide support to take our technology and push it out to the world through patenting and commercialization."

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The innovators and OTC are looking for partners to continue developing their technology. For more information on licensing and other opportunities, contact Matthew Halladay of OTC at mrhalladay@prf.org and mention track code 69397.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities through commercializing, licensing and protecting Purdue intellectual property. The office is located in the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus. In fiscal year 2020, the office reported 148 deals finalized with 225 technologies signed, 408 disclosures received and 180 issued U.S. patents. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. In 2020, IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Contact otcip@prf.org for more information.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today's toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu.

Writer:
Chris Adam,
cladam@prf.org

Source:
Andrew Fairbanks,
ajfairba@purdue.edu

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