Niobium-based connectors making electrical connections underwater

FALLS CHURCH, Va. Northrop Grumman Corporation has signed its first non-exclusive agreement to manufacture niobium-based connectors (NiobiCon) designed for harsh environments. NiobiCon is a new way of making electrical connections underwater that enables power transfer and data exchange without using seals, oil, or moving parts.

According to the company, this technology was developed to address the inefficient recharging of unmanned vehicles in underwater environments.

When the niobium connector enters in contact with the water, it creates its own thin isolating layer, which gets scraped off when the connection is made. Once disconnected, the layer instantly regenerates.

Northrop Grumman has entered into an agreement with iCONN Systems LLC, which specializes in the manufacture of connectors for harsh environments as their first non-exclusive licensee. They will work with potential customers to develop more reliable interconnects for both commercial and defense applications.