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United States Naval Research Laboratory

The United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is the corporate research laboratory for the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. It conducts basic scientific research, applied research, technological development and prototyping. The laboratory's specialties include plasma physics, space physics, materials science, and tactical electronic warfare. NRL is one of the first US Government scientific R&D laboratories, having opened in 1923 at the instigation of Thomas Edison, and is currently under the Office of Naval Research. NRL's research expenditures are approximately $1 billion per year.
In 2014, the NRL was researching: armor for munitions in transport, high-powered lasers, remote explosives detection, spintronics, the dynamics of explosive gas mixtures, electromagnetic Railgun technology, detection of hidden nuclear materials, graphene devices, high-power extremely high frequency (35–220 GHz) amplifiers, acoustic lensing, information-rich orbital coastline mapping, arctic weather forecasting, global aerosol analysis & prediction, high-density plasmas, Millisecond pulsars, broadband laser data links, virtual mission operation centers, battery technology, photonic crystals, carbon nanotube electronics, electronic sensors, mechanical nano-resonators, solid-state chemical sensors, organic opto-electronics, neural-electronic interfaces and self-assembling nanostructures.
NRL's spacecraft development program continues today with the TacSat-4 experimental tactical reconnaissance and communication satellite. In addition to spacecraft design, NRL designs and operates spaceborne research instruments and experiments, such as the Strontium Iodide Radiation Instrumentation (SIRI) and RAM Angle and Magnetic field sensor (RAMS) aboard STPSat-5, the Wide-field imager for solar probe (WISP) aboard the Parker Solar Probe, and the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph Experiment (LASCO) aboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (FGST) [formerly called Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST)] was tested at NRL spacecraft testing facilities. NRL scientists have most recently contributed leading research to the study of novas and gamma ray bursts.
Fundamental aspects of stealth technology were developed at NRL, including the radar absorption mechanisms in ferrite-containing materials. Metal bearing surface treatments using Cr ion implantation researched at NRL nearly tripled the service life of Navy turbine engine parts and was adopted for Army helicopter parts as well. Fluorinated polyurethane coatings developed at NRL are used to line fuel storage tanks throughout the US Navy, reducing leakage and environmental and fuel contamination. The same polymer films are used in Los Angeles-class submarine radomes to repel water and enable radar operation soon after surfacing.
NRL's Tactical Electronic Warfare (TEW) Division is responsible for research and development in support of the Navy's tactical electronic warfare requirements and missions. These include electronic warfare support measures, electronic countermeasures, and supporting counter-countermeasures, as well as studies, analyses, and simulations for determining and improving the performance of Electronic Warfare systems. NRL TEW includes aerial, surface, and ground EW within its scope. NRL is responsible for the identification, friend or foe (IFF) system and a number of other advances.
The main campus of NRL is in Washington, DC, near the southernmost part of the District. It is on the Potomac River and is immediately south of (but is not part of) Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. This campus is immediately north of the Blue Plains site of the DC Water Authority. Exit 1 of northbound I-295 leads directly to Overlook Avenue and the NRL Main Gate. The U.S. Postal Service operates a post office on the NRL main campus.