NASA SBIR 01-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: E1.06-9880 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 012119 )
Broadband Terahertz Frequency Multipliers

The spectral band from 1 - 5THz contains a wealth of information about the chemistry of the upper atmosphere and the structure and evolution of the Universe. The recent development of superconductive hot electron bolometers (HEBs) has made it possible for NASA to cover this frequency band with high-resolution heterodyne receivers with exceptional sensitivity. As a critical additional benefit, the HEB mixers require extremely low levels of local oscillator (LO) power. In fact system requirements of as little as ten-microwatts make it feasible for the mixers to be pumped with solid-state sources based on a fundamental oscillator and a cascaded chain of frequency multipliers. However, multipliers for above 1 THz, even at these power levels, remain a formidable challenge. In fact, a frequency multiplier for Band 6 of the Heterodyne Radiometer for Herschel, spanning from 1,410 - 1,910 GHz, has not yet been demonstrated. Thus, the problem we propose to solve is the lack of a source of terahertz power suitable for NASA missions. This will be achieved through the use of our advanced diode fabrication technologies and our innovative multiplier circuit designs.

The Terahertz frequency band is often sited as the most scientifically rich, yet unexplored region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Since 1997 Virginia Diodes, Inc. has fabricated and marketed GaAs diode technology to researchers throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. Also, through our research at UVa we are well known by the Terahertz community. This history provides an excellent vantage to survey the needs of the community. It is clear that virtually every laboratory in this field is being held back by the lack of a practical source of tunable terahertz power. These potential customers include scientists developing terahertz receivers, chemical spectroscopists who now rely on Russian backward wave oscillators, and military researchers investigating the remote detection of chemical and biological toxins.
Our innovative technologies allow the realization of waveguide-band multipliers with suitable output power and no mechanical tuners or dc bias. Also, these integrated components are easy to manufacture and extremely reliable. Once these sources are available, we expect commercial applications of terahertz technology to become possible. We envision high data rate, point-to-point communication systems, medical diagnostic tools and methods to monitor bacterial contaminants in food processing plants. Virginia Diodes is committed to the commercialization of this technology.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
David W. Porterfield
Virginia Diodes, Inc.
327-B West Main Street
Charlottesville , VA   22903 - 5551

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Virginia Diodes, Inc.
327-B West Main Street
Charlottesville , VA   22903 - 5551

Form Printed on 06-19-01 15:44