The US Navy has awarded Optra Inc. a $300,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant to produce an open-path particle analyzer based on laser scattering for use with gas turbine engines. The Topsfield, Mass., company will use an algorithmic technique to extract the particulate size distribution and concentration from the measured scatter pattern. The system is designed to monitor particulate matter downstream from the augmenter tube in the Navy's T-10 test cell. Intended to replace an Environmental Protection Agency method, the approach performs rapidly in a noncontact configuration. The technology also may be used to monitor diesel trucks, automobiles and off-road equipment. Included in the contract is an option for another $300,000 grant.