Alloy Revelations to Aid Soldiers on Battlefield

Alloy Revelations to Aid Soldiers on Battlefield


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Army researchers are now using metallic alloys in order to develop new materials with a broad range of capabilities for soldiers. With this technology, researchers aspire to improve communication capabilities and energy harvesting on the battlefield as well as reduce weight of certain devices carried by soldiers.  

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, for example, uses metallic alloys in order to lighten the load and enhance the power of soldier devices used on the battlefield.

A research paper recently published by the University of Maryland titled “Band Structure Engineering by Alloying for Photonics,” focuses on control of the optical and plasmonic properties of gold and silver alloys by changing alloy chemical composition.

Essentially, the research focused on the material’s electronic structure with direct implications for the optical behavior.

This could have implications for military capabilities.

According to Dr. Joshua McClure, “the insights of the paper are useful to soldiers because they can be applied to a variety of applications including, but not limited to: photocatalytic reactions, sensing/detection and nanoscale laser applications. When tuned properly, the integrated alloyed materials can lead to reductions in the weight of energy harvesting devices, lower power requirements for electronics and even more powerful optical sensors.”

Researchers are currently looking at the properties of metallic alloys other than gold and silver, and anticipating that their combined experimental and computational approach may be extended to other materials including nonmetallic systems, as explained in

Dr. David Baker explains that “the field of plasmonics enables potentially paradigm shifting characteristics with applications to the warfighter; this includes everything from computation, to energy harvesting, to communication, and even directed energy. However, researchers in these fields are limited to a handful of elements on the periodic table; gold and silver are two of the most commonly studied. This lack of options limits the available properties for technology development. By knowing the fundamental optical and electronic properties of alloys, we can develop new designer materials with a broader range of capabilities.”