In-line Measurement of Thermal Properties of Materials

Idaho National Laboratory Background
Rapid design and development of new materials for use in defense, energy, and electronics applications is increasingly dependent on high-throughput sample characterization. Large sets of material characterization data is necessary not only to make classical material optimization decisions but also to feed modern material design tools that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence. This technology, developed by researchers at INL, offers a new way to capture thermal properties of materials while the sample is in the chamber of multi-analytical materials analysis tools. Capturing thermal properties in a spatially localized manner in concert with direct evaluation of microstructures is not currently possible using state-of-the-art instruments. This instrument is designed as an add-on for currently operating materials analysis tools.
Technology Overview
This technology is a compact, solid state, ultra-high vacuum compatible optical instrument designed to measure thermal properties in multi-analytical environments (e.g. TOF-SIMS, FIB, SEM, etc.). This solid-state instrument delivers laser light to the instrument head in a contained fashion using optical fibers. It is compatible with the ultra-high vacuum environments commonly encountered in multi-analytical materials characterization tools such as scanning electron microscopes. This technology allows for operating analytical tools to be retrofitted with new diagnostic capabilities for measuring thermal properties and new multi-analytical tools to be designed with this technology in mind.
INL’s technology enables rapid and highly-spatially correlated measurements of multiple material properties. Research so far have measured material thermal properties key to applications ranging from nuclear fuel to turbine thermal barrier coatings, to power electronics. The ability to directly correlate these properties with highly local material microstructure will greatly reduce uncertainty in the understanding of structure-property relationships for materials under development.
Stage of Development
TRL 4. System has been validated in a laboratory environment.

Compatible with analytical systems from multiple major manufacturers.
Allows for far greater variability of optical methods to be deployed compared to single-measure-type instruments currently deployed.
Allows spatial mapping of thermal properties directly, rather than spatial measurements of resulting temperature fields.


Materials evaluation and testing
Rapid thermal analysis

Idaho National Laboratory (INL), managed and operated by Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC (BEA), is offering the opportunity to enter into a license and/or collaborative research agreement to commercialize this thermal property measurement instrument. This technology transfer opportunity is part of a dedicated effort to convert government-funded research into job opportunities, businesses and ultimately an improved way of life for the American people.
INL is seeking to license the above intellectual property to a company with a demonstrated ability to bring such inventions to the market. Exclusive rights in defined fields of use may be available. Added value is placed on relationships with small businesses, start-up companies, and general entrepreneurship opportunities.

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