NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-A5.02-8736 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 034269)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Nanotechnology
PROPOSAL TITLE:Self-Assembly of Nanocomposite Nonlinear Optical Materials for Photonic Devices

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Eltron Research Inc
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder ,CO 80301 - 3241
(303) 530 - 0263

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Wayne E. Buschmann
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder ,CO  80301 -3241
(303) 530 - 0263
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

This program targets the development of new highly anisotropic nonlinear optical nanocomposite materials for NASA and non-NASA applications in advanced photonic and optoelectronic devices and optical integrated circuits. Integration of electronic and optical components onto a single platform is becoming essential to advancing sensor, computational, memory, and communications technologies. Designing optical and electronic materials from the molecular scale up is expected to result in a new era of complex materials exhibiting enhanced optical properties, low processing costs, and substrate compatibility to enable device-on- a-chip technologies. The nonlinear optical materials for development in this program will be composed of complex nanocomposite heterostructures produced by molecular self-assembly derived from a well-characterized family of quasi one-dimensional electronic materials with chemically tunable optical properties and dynamics. These materials can be grown as single crystals or oriented thin films at low temperatures without epitaxial growth making their production low cost and platform-independent. These materials have intimately coupled optical and electronic activity and are transparent over much of the electromagnetic spectrum making them well suited for optoelectronic devices. The highly anisotropic and low-dimensional nature of these materials also provides highly oriented optoelectronic responses and quantum confinement effects that are desirable in advanced micro-optoelectronic devices.

Several optoelectronic technologies that fall within NASA?s interests will benefit from new advances in nano-engineered materials. Device applications include optical detectors, remote sensing and satellite communications systems, high resolution imaging, lightwave integrated circuits, quantum computing, and photonic converters and multiplexers. Successful development of the new technology proposed will provide a new class of nonlinear optical materials with optical and electronic properties that can be strategically tuned for specific applications. Success of this new technology will also provide a significant example of applying nanotechnology design and fabrication approaches to produce complex heterostructured materials for practical device applications.

Commercial interests in optoelectronic materials include optical interconnects, solid state lasers, optical amplifiers, waveguide distribution circuits, optical detectors, optical modulators and switches, optically gated transistors and couplers. These components are important in computing, data storage, digital entertainment systems, displays and other consumer electronics. Photonic integrated circuit subsystems are also critical to advancing fiber-optic communication systems.