NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- E1.07-9079 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 022920 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Thermal Control and Cryogenic Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Efficiency MEMS Based Cryocooler

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nanohmics, LLC
4302 Rimdale Dr
Austin , TX   78731 - 1222
(512 ) 349 - 0835

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Keith Jamison
4302 Rimdale Dr
Austin , TX   78731 - 1222
(512 ) 349 - 0835

New developments in micro miniaturized systems have enabled very efficient cooling systems. The key figure of merit for these devices is the specific capacity which is defined as the ratio of the heat dissipation capacity vs. the overall mass of the dissipating device. In the case of microlithographically patterned, microelectromechanical system (MEMS) components, the dimensional capabilities are extremely efficient as unique structural designs of micro-oscillating diaphragms prepared by undercut etching of vapor deposited layers enable large heat transport capabilities relative to the overall size of the devices. In particular, Stirling engines, which act as transducers for mechanical to thermal energy conversion, have shown particular promise as integrated MEMS coolers for integrated circuits and other planar detection arrays compared to their counterparts, thermoelectric coolers (TECs). To this end, Nanohmics plans to introduce two novel components to MEMS micro-cryocooler Stirling Engines systems that will dramatically improve the performance of the device. This includes replacing the silicon heat exchanger plates and flexible membranes with high thermally conductivity novel thin film materials using a MEMS processing technique and introduction of novel aerogels into the fluid heat exchanger matrix with ultra low thermal conductivities.

Miniaturized coolers have many military and commercial applications. The largest commercial application is cooling of microprocessors and detectors. Currently, speed of microprocessors and the efficiency of detectors are limited by the amount of power that can be removed from the devices. Chip scale heat pumps will allow efficient cooling of devices enabling operation at greater speeds / power densities

To fulfill NASA's Earth Science Enterprise mission objectives, Nanohmics plans to develop an ultrahigh thermal efficiency MicroElectroMechanical System (MEMS) cryogenic cooling system. The system will be designed to decrease the cost and size of instruments that perform Earth Science measurements and thus lead to compact electromagnetic detection and microelectronics platforms for integration into miniature probe spacecraft.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10