- Press Release
- August 16, 2022
NASA Awards Intelligent Optical Systems Inc. $600,000 Follow-On Contract to Develop Fiber Optic Hydrogen Leak Detection System
Intelligent Optical Systems Inc. (IOS), a privately held R&D
company specializing in the design and development of proprietary
optical communications, monitoring and signal processing technologies,
today announced that it has received a $600,000 contract from the NASA
Stennis Space Center to continue its development of a fiber optic
hydrogen leak detection system for space launch vehicles.
On May 14, 2001, IOS announced that it and The Boeing Company
had successfully demonstrated the world’s first fiber optic
hydrogen leak detection system during a static fire test on a Delta IV
orbital rocket at the NASA Stennis Space Center.
Reuben Sandler, president and chief executive officer of IOS,
said: “This project was initiated at IOS by an earlier contract from
the NASA Stennis Space Center, complemented by funding from Boeing.
With this contract, IOS has received approximately $1,000,000 in
corporate and government funding to develop a safe, efficient system
for detecting potentially catastrophic leaks from cryogenic tanks and
tubing containing liquid hydrogen and other high-energy propellants.
“We are very appreciative of NASA’s support to move ahead with
further engineering of the system and are honored to have received one
of only 31 CalTIP grants issued this year by the State of California
to fund technology commercialization.”
Sandler explained that IOS solved the problem of real time
hydrogen leak detection inside and outside of the launch vehicle with
a multi-point fiber optic sensor system composed of a low-cost light
source, standard telecommunications-grade optical fiber as the
transmission medium and easy-to-manufacture optrodes with temperature
Unlike electrochemical technology, optoelectronic sensors require
no power at the sensing point, eliminating the possibility of faulty
wiring causing a spark. Optical sensors are immune to electromagnetic
interference and operate effectively in a wide variety of media.
Optical fiber is flexible and resistant to temperature extremes and
many caustic chemicals.
The current leak detection system utilizing electrochemical
sensors connected to multiple monitoring units by copper wiring
increases payload weight, power consumption and the potential for
explosion caused by electromagnetic interference or a spark.
“The commercial opportunities for hydrogen sensing and cryogenic
gas leak detection are expanding rapidly for various hydrogen fuel
markets such as micro or portable fuel cells, vehicular fuel that will
power larger devices such as gardening equipment, cordless tools,
office devices and medical equipment. Vehicular fuel cells will power
cars, trucks and buses. Stationery fuel cells will be designed to
power anything from a highway sign to a house to an office building to
an entire city. Safe hydrogen storage and distribution infrastructures
will be needed. No matter what the size of the fuel cell or storage
tank, hydrogen sensors will be needed to ensure safety,” Sandler
“This project is an excellent example of our strategy to
commercialize IOS’s portfolio of intellectual property through
partnerships, joint ventures and other affiliations. The proprietary
optical communications, monitoring and signal processing technologies
we have developed over the past decade also have exciting applications
in medical diagnostics, fiber optic communications, aerospace and
other industries with enormous growth potential,” Sandler said.
About Intelligent Optical Systems Inc.
Intelligent Optical Systems (www.intopsys.com) is a privately held
R&D company based in Torrance, that specializes in the design and
development of proprietary optical communications, monitoring and
signal processing technologies.