NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-E1.05-7022 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 035985)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Active Microwave
PROPOSAL TITLE:A Network of Multi-band Sensors for Radar Design, Deployment, and Diagnostics

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Opteos, Inc.
1340 Eisenhower Place
Ann Arbor ,MI 48108 - 3282
(734) 973 - 6600

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kyoung   Yang
1340 Eisenhower Place
Ann Arbor ,MI  48108 -3282
(734) 973 - 6600
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

Limitations on the design, monitoring and diagnosis of complex microwave systems due to insufficient models, the reality of imperfect physical conditions, and the reliance on trial-and-error iteration for system improvement serve to increase the time and costs of radar development. While microwave characterization is traditionally the realm of conventional, port-based measurements, the proposed concept suggests an alternative: the development of a novel network of electro-optic sensors that probe the near-field amplitude and phase of microwave signals at strategic locations within prototype or field-deployed radar systems. Such a sensor network, which would rely on optically-coupled, non-conductive, ultrawideband probes, would provide an unprecedented combination of negligible invasiveness, freedom from electrical interference, and the ability to capture signal information at frequencies from UHF to W-band. It would impact the development of virtually the entire range of technologies relevant to active microwave earth-science instruments. The proposed program will thus lead to the development of an instrument that can aid in areas such as deployment, calibration, and phase correction in large arrays, as well as in the identification of sources of electromagnetic-interference signals and the isolation of faults and failures.

Relevant NASA applications of a novel electro-optic sensor network include design, maintenance, diagnostics, and calibration of radar components. A network of in situ electro-optic probes placed in critical locations within microwave circuits will gather otherwise inaccessible information on where failures arise or designs fail, reducing time and cost of development. Unit cells, and even multi-frequency antennas, will be monitored for operational consistency and the onset of faults without being taken out of service. Sensors will also diagnose when the phase of an element is incorrect, directing adjustment electronically, or even mechanically during deployment of an expandable array.

Many of the applications of interest to NASA may be recognized as having importance to the Department of Defense and also to defense contractors. For instance, monitoring of individual unit cells of an operational ship-based radar or troubleshooting of a new array design could both take advantage of a network of embedded sensors. It is also anticipated that strategic partners that wish to enhance their existing product lines may include networks of noninvasive RF sensors. For instance, internal-node measurements would complement on-wafer, port-based measurements, and a network of fiber-based probes could sense cell-phone radiation from locations within a phantom.