NASA SBIR 01-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: S2.06-8852 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 013147 )
Micromachining Techniques to Enhance X-ray Microcalorimeter Array Fabrication

ProcessTek describes an innovative large format cryogenic x-ray detector consisting of an array of magnetic microcalorimeters with SQUID readouts. Pixels consist of a thick-film x-ray absorber deposited on a paramagnetic alloy that is coupled to a dc SQUID. A research collaboration headed by Prof. Seidel at Brown University, including participants from the University of Heidelberg, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Star Cryoelectronics and Hypres, have conducted a research program investigating the relevant properties of appropriate magnetic systems. They have achieved impressive results with individual pixel,microcalorimeter designs. Next, they will develop new microprocessing techniques and multiplexed SQUID electronics systems. Their Focal Plane Array design has significant fabrication problems to overcome to process a high performance and manufacturable array.

The purpose of this proposed SBIR research plan is complementary to this effort. We propose to develop some specific practical processing details based on MEMS and micromachining techniques that will enable us to transform this high potential microcalorimeter concept, to a marketable product that could be sold to a potentially large market. We will work closely with Professor Seidel's collaboration, sharing ideas and investigation results, and members of this collaboration will test all new devices developed by ProcessTek at the appropriate cryogenic temperatures.

The successful development of these microcalorimeter arrays into suitably functional detector systems that are commercially available would lead to a number of potential applications in industry in addition to the X-ray astronomy applications. The most promising of these is currently the use of microcalorimeter systems with Scanning Electron Microscopes. CSP Cryogenic Spectrometers GmbH and EDAX Inc. is one example of an industrial collaboration that have developed a high resolution energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer for microanalysis applications. While their systems are currently using other microcalorimeter array technologies, the successful development of magnetic microcalorimeters could make them the calorimeters of choice for this industry, and their cryogenic systems could relatively easily be adapted for operation with these devices. In addition there are a number of possible applications in non-invasive biomedical instruments such as those used for measuring magnetocardiograms and magnetoencephalograms, as well for non-destructive evaluation (NDE) for detection of corrosion and cracks in metals

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Thomas E. Wester
74 Fairview Rd
Lynnfield , MA   01940 - 1557

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
74 Fairview Rd
Lynnfield , MA   01940 - 1557

Form Printed on 06-19-01 15:44