What We Do
Developing and building state-of-the-art solutions for challenging problems faced by the U.S. Navy has been our core expertise for several decades.
Modern submarines host thousands of sensors that are used for tactical purposes and also to collect data that are subjected to later analysis such as mission reconstruction.
APL-UW is the implementing organization for the Pacific Northwest component of the NSF Ocean Observatories Initiative: Regional Scale Nodes. This underwater cabled observatory will be installed off the Washington and Oregon coasts to span the Juan de Fuca plate. We are engineering leads for this high bandwidth, high power distribution system, and will also deliver the scientific instrument packages that connect to it. More >>
Custom Recording Systems
We develop custom recording systems and also the interfaces between them and ship's sensors for every U.S. Navy submarine. We also develop the highly specialized signal processing tools used to analyze the collected data.
We have developed a new class of high-definition sonars used to inspect and identify objects in turbid water where optical systems fail and continue to explore applications for them. They can identify underwater intruders as part of harbor security, and can be deployed on remotely operated submersibles where they can scan for objects of interest. The sonars are even being used to count migrating salmon by fisheries researchers.
DIDSON high-definition sonar images: fish (L) and stingrays (R)
Photonics is the use of light to acquire, transfer and store data of all types. Systems operating with light are expected to replace many electronic devices in the future. Researchers are developing fiber optic modulators and switches based on organic electro-optic polymer materials. We are also working on spectroscopic identification of materials using terahertz radiation.
Gary Harkins, EPS Department Director
Our engineers participated in VISIONS'11, a major research cruise aboard the R/V Thomas G. Thompson. Their work prepared for installation of the Regional Scale Nodes underwater cabled observatory (part of NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative). View the excellent graphics and real-time underwater video collected by remotely operated vehicle ROPOS. Areas of exploration included the Oregon Margin at Hydrate Ridge and Axial Volcano, more than 200 miles off the Washington coast. More >>
APL-UW conducts basic scientific research to increase the predictive capabilities of counter-IED efforts and to detect IEDs at distance and speed before they can cause harm. More >>
Senior Engineer and Affiliate Associate Professor Antao Chen's photonics group is engaged in multidisciplinary research on advanced fiber optic materials and devices to address the bandwidth needs of the future.
XRay Flying Wing Glider
Principal Engineer and Affiliate Associate Professor Jim Luby leads the Laboratory's team in developing the large undersea glider in partnership with Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
In the News
New lab to give scientists underwater access
KIRO TV, Donna Gordon Blankinship
19 May 2013
Scientists are eager for access to information from a quarter-billion dollar lab at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean that they hope will teach them about climate change, earthquakes and even the origins of life on Earth and other planets.
Getting ready for the world's largest underwater observatory
KUOW Radio, Ashley Ahearn
17 Apr 2013
The Regional Cabled Observatory is a $239 million project funded by the National Science Foundation. The goal: to better understand and monitor the depths of the Pacific Ocean from volcanic eruptions to deep-sea earthquakes that could lead to tsunamis.
Preparing to install the world's largest underwater observatory
UW News and Information, Hannah Hickey
15 Apr 2013
The National Science Foundation in 2009 launched the $239 million effort led by John Delaney, UW professor of oceanography, to create a cabled observatory that will bring power and Internet to the ocean floor. This new concept will use remote-controlled instruments and high-bandwidth video to create an enduring, real-time presence in the deep ocean.
Klinck, H., D.K. Mellinger, K. Klinck, N.M. Bogue, J.C. Luby, W.A. Jump, G.B. Shilling, T. Litchendorf, A.S. Wood, G.S. Schorr, and R.W. Baird, "Near-real-time acoustic monitoring of beaked whales and other cetaceans using a Seaglider," Plos One, 7, e36128, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036128, 2012.
18 May 2012, Link
Arbab, M.H., D.P. Winebrenner, T.C. Dickey, M.B. Klein, A. Chen, and P.D. Mourad, "A noninvasive terahertz assessment of 2nd and 3rd degree burn wounds," In Proceedings, CLEO 2012: Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, San Jose, CA, paper CTu3B.3 (Optical Society of America, 2012).
6 May 2012, Link
Mellinger, D.K., H. Klink, N.M. Bogue, J. Luby, H. Matsumoto, and R. Stelzer, "Gliders, floats, and robot sailboats: Autonomous platforms for marine mammal research," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 131, 3493, doi:10.1121/1.4709197, 2012.
1 Apr 2012, Link