Applied Research That Changed the World

How does a big idea turn into a technology that changes lives?

At Peraton, expert teams conduct applied research and development programs that have the power to shape and advance emerging technologies while leading to mature solutions that work at scale and in complex, real-world mission environments.

One key to Peraton’s strength as a leading mission capability integrator is its pioneering applied research arm, Peraton Labs, with its robust heritage of providing customers like the U.S. Army, DARPA, and IARPA with transformative insights, revolutionary new capabilities, and actionable intelligence.

Applied research is intrinsically a dynamic arena, and Peraton—both in the Labs and through the company’s Technology and Engineering team—pursues and performs applied research in new and adjacent areas—including cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, electronic warfare, mobile communications, and machine learning—to better support critical government missions of consequence.

“Peraton Labs is a unique innovation engine,” said Mike King, Peraton’s chief growth officer. “We try to harvest the more than $200 million of customer research and development investment and blend that back into the rest of the company. We really drive that innovation across the entire organization, sharing knowledge with our other sectors. When we have a really hard problem to solve, we can try to solve it early on by running it past 400 of the smartest researchers in the world. That type of knowledge base is unparalleled—it’s a real differentiator for us.”

Applied research can lay the groundwork for major technological advances. Here are notable examples where Peraton’s pioneering research has unlocked new technologies that changed the world in the last 40 years:

Internet Phone Calls

In 1982, Peraton researchers demonstrated the first Voice over Ethernet (VoE) call on an Ethernet local area network (LAN). This achievement significantly advanced digital communications and laid the foundation for the way people communicate today. In following decades, Peraton consistently surpassed expectations as a leader in communications and networking.

Email Attachments

In 1992, Peraton researchers co-invented the protocol for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME), which enabled email attachments to be shared across multiple systems. MIME changed the future of digital communications and unlocked new levels of productivity across the workplace. Prior to the MIME protocol, attachments could not be sent to outside organizations. As the world became more connected, the demand for fast, need-to-know access continued to grow. Thanks to MIME, modern correspondence not only allows the sharing of attachments but also protects confidential files with encryption.

Shielding Missiles and Spaceships

In 1992, Peraton introduced Acusil®, a lightweight, silicone syntactic, foam-based thermal protection system that enables communication during extraterrestrial and tactical missions. It instantly elevated America’s competitive advantage in both missile defense and space exploration. On the battlefield, Acusil has an array of applications and is integral to interceptor missiles that provide frontline support for U.S. countermeasures. In space, Acusil is used by NASA to maintain communications using RF transmission and protect against ascent and descent heating on critical systems. Most recently, Acusil protected the vital parachute and communication antennas during the 2020 Mars Lander mission.


In 1994, Peraton researchers created the first blockchain in the world. The digital, distributed, and decentralized ledger provided a way to preserve and protect information from being manipulated. Today, blockchain is the building block of a wide range of new industries, services, and solutions. Peraton is still hard at work in this field, with researchers currently building upon their predecessors’ legacy to create Information Trust—a provenance tracking system that resolves anomalies and allows trusted, tamper-proof information to be shared in full confidence across tactical environments.

High-Speed Internet over Optical Networks

In 2007, Peraton led a team aimed at developing dynamic, multi-terabit, high-speed Internet service over optical networks with unprecedented levels of reconfigurability and resilience. This effort enabled global on-demand service, which helped lower cost, support spikes in demand, reduce outages, and deliver reliability. These groundbreaking innovations subsequently produced technology for cloud orchestration: as a result, cloud-to-cloud setup went from days to seconds, laying the foundation for today’s robust on-demand cloud services.

Quantum Communications

Drawing on the company’s R&D heritage, Peraton researchers won the 2012 Edison Patent Award for breakthrough research that made quantum communications practical and scalable in fiber optic networks while reducing infrastructure costs. Quantum communications provides a paradigm shift in information security with the ability to provide much greater defense against exposure and exfiltration.