CNR Concept Challenge Winner Dr. Ben Conley, Ph.D.

SMART Scholar Wins CNR Concept Challenge

Competition Seeks Innovative Ideas to Support Future Navy and Marine Corps

The Department of Defense Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholar, Dr. Ben Conley, a PhD from the 2011 Cohort sponsored by Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane within the Electro-Optic Technology Division of the Special Warfare and Expeditionary Systems Department, was one of the Chief of Naval Research (CNR) Concept Challenge awardees at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Naval Future Force S&T Expo. NSWC Crane is responsible for multi-domain, multi-spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability of today’s warfighter.

The CNR Concept Challenge is a call for innovative ideas to support the Navy and Marine Corps of the future. This challenge included how to keep naval ships, aircraft and personnel always at an advantage—and help Sailors and Marines either deter conflict or win decisively and return safely. Dr. Conley's proposal titled, "Infrared Image Intensifier (I3) Tube for Uncooled and Amplified Thermal Imaging” seeks to develop a novel photocathode to allow expeditionary warfighters to image thermal infrared bands such as mid-wave infrared and long-wave infrared. This photocathode is proposed to utilize metamaterial absorbers to eliminate the requirement for detector cryogenic cooling.

“This has the potential to give expeditionary warfighters a new capability and advantage on the battlefield that is currently only deployed on a few platforms because of the high power and cost of those existing mid-wave infrared systems.” Dr. Conley said. “It was great to receive the CNR Concept Challenge award and be recognized for my ideas and research here at Crane.”

The ONR Naval Future Force S&T Expo took place on July 20-21, 2017 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center located in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the event was for participants to hear from technical experts and senior naval leaders and learn more about status of key programs and new research opportunities.
“The visionary ideas that we received from Challenge participants will enable us to get out in front of the rapid, ever-accelerating technology development and deployment cycle,” explained Rear Adm. David J. Hahn during the expo. “With new advances taking place at breakneck speeds, across multiple domains, the ‘Navy and Marine Corps After Next’ truly is being created right now.”

Dr. Conley’s proposal was reviewed by ONR subject matter experts, and was awarded for his enhancements to existing thermal-imaging capabilities. His concept aligns with the U.S. Navy’s new strategic direction and framework for a continuum of research and development to maintain its competitive edge through the advancement and acceleration of scientific and technological innovations.

Information in this post was excerpted from the following ONR press release:

Information in this post was excerpted from the following Naval Sea Systems Command press release:

By Emily Tully