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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J013900/1
Title: Commercialisation of CHOTs
Principal Investigator: Clark, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr RJ Smith Dr T Stratoudaki
Project Partners:
Department: Div of Electrical Systems and Optics
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Follow on Fund
Starts: 01 July 2012 Ends: 30 November 2013 Value (£): 151,289
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Lasers & Optics Optical Devices & Subsystems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Oct 2011 Follow-on Fund Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Non-destructive testing is not only big business but it is critical to big businesses. Without it aeroplanes couldn't fly, electricity wouldn't be generated and petrol wouldn't be produced. It is a critical component in any safety critical business. One of the most widely used and versatile tools for non destructive testing is ultrasonic inspection. In the main this uses piezo-electric transducers to perform the inspection. These are typically match-box sized and are connected to the sample using a couplant gel or water and connected to the instrumentation (pulser) via a coaxial wire. Piezo-electric transducers are bulky, expensive and don't like harsh conditions (such as high temperatures). Because they are connected to the instrumentation by wires and need to be in contact with the sample (or a water bath) they are difficult to use in many situations - for instance on the wing of an aircraft, in a gas turbine engine or on a wind turbine.

CHOTs is an alternative technology to piezo-electric transducers. Ultrasonically they behave the same as piezo-electric transducers but they are very small and cheap and they are probed wirelessly without contact between the instrumentation and the transducer using laser beams. In addition the CHOTs transducers themselves can be made in a wide variety of ways and from a wide variety of materials, including from the sample or test piece itself. Consequently they can be used in hazardous environments. They typically have near zero thickness so they can be left on the sample with negligible impact on its use. Because they are very cheap it would be possible to cover a structure with CHOTs that are left in situ for future testing.

The CHOTs transducers are operated wirelessly using lasers and can be probed remotely (theoretically >100m) as well as close up. This makes CHOTs an attractive system where access is difficult or dangerous. In this proposal we want to turn our research based laboratory CHOTs system into an instrument that can be used in industry. We will use the original EPSRC research and some recent advances to make a system based on optical fibres that will allow CHOTs to be used in three ways: with a hand held scanner (like a bar code reader), with a tripod mount remote scanner and down an endoscope for inspecting the inside of difficult to reach structures such as gas turbines.

We want to license the technology to instrument manufacturers who can then make and sell CHOTs systems to end users in industry. We will work closely with both instrument manufacturers and end users as we design and build our system and we will demonstrate it and lend it out for evaluation. The system will be very simple to use and very familiar to users of existing piezo-electric systems (with the exception of using non contact CHOTs transducers) so that it will integrate directly into their measurement systems.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk