NASA SBIR 01-1 Solicitation

FORM 9B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: B1.01-9023 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 012976 )
PROPOSAL TITLE:
Electrostatic Self-Assembly of Nanocomposite Electro-Optic Materials

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
NanoSonic and a major U.S. aerospace company would work together during the Phase I NASA SBIR program to develop a ground-based experiment to evaluate the potential advantages of the nanoscale self-assembly of electro-optic materials in space. For use in low-voltage, high frequency electro-optic modulators, such materials require the internal nanoscale alignment of molecular dipoles. Conventional guest-host polymer-based electro-optic modulator materials achieve such alignment through the application of a large electric field at elevated temperatures, followed by cooling of the polymer to effectively freeze in the dipolar alignment. However, since the resulting material is in a nonequilibrium state, this alignment relaxes with time and temperature, and modulator performance decreases. Biologically-inspired liquid phase self-assembly processes have been demonstrated to yield improved molecular alignment, without the need for electric field poling. Additional improvements in alignment and resulting electro-optic properties may be possible by avoiding the influence of the gravitational field on intermolecular dynamics during the self-assembly process. During the Phase I program, a self-contained and simple terrestrial experiment will be developed to allow the evaluation of the effect of gravitational effects on the molecular alignment of electro-optic materials during self-assembly. Experimental evaluation will be performed in cooperation with NASA.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
Electro-optic modulators are used to convert digital electronic signals into on-off keyed optical signals in optical fiber communication systems. The use of advanced polymers rather than inorganic crystals in such modulators leads to higher speed and improved fiber-to-modulator coupling. High-speed electro-optic modulators have immediate commercial applications in ultrawide bandwidth optical communication networks. The advantages of efficient dipolar ordering in such materials also leads to lower voltage device operation, which in turn simplifies electronic driver circuit requirements, and lowers system cost.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Dr. Kristie L. Cooper
NanoSonic, Inc.
P.O. Box 618
Christiansburg , VA   24068 - 0618

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
NanoSonic, Inc.
P.O. Box 618
Christiansburg , VA   24068 - 0618


Form Printed on 06-19-01 15:44