NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-S1.01-8216 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 034789)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Particles and Fields Measurements for Missions to the Heliosphere, Planetary Magnetospheres and Uppe
PROPOSAL TITLE:Miniature Flat Plasma Spectrometer

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
NanoSciences Corporation/NanoSystems Inc
115 Hurley Road, Building 1B
Oxford ,CT 06478 - 1037
(203) 267 - 4440

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Charles P. Beetz
115 Hurley Road 1B
Oxford ,CT  06478 -1037
(203) 267 - 4440
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

This phase I SBIR project will develop a micromachined charged particle energy collimator plate to be used as a principle component in a micromachined plasma spectrometer. The construction of a micromachined device will enable plasma spectrometers to be easily accommodated into NASA?s strategy for using many small nanosatellite spacecraft to perform scientific measurements. A novel high aspect ratio etch process for silicon will be combined with other semiconductor processes to produce a device 1 cm ' 1 cm in area capable of collimating charged particles with energies up to 100 keV. The advantages of the silicon micromachining approach are that very high aspect ratio (>50:1) channels can be built which will significantly lower the voltage required for energy selection. The use of semiconductor processing techniques also addresses the issues of high volume manufacturing, reliability and quality control. The phase I project will demonstrate the basic fabrication process for the collimator plate. Phase II will be used to refine the design and mate the particle collimator plates with the energy discriminator under development at NASA Goddard and the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins and a backend microchannel plate stack to build a complete spectrometer unit.

The proposed project applies a unique high rate, high aspect ratio silicon micromachining technology to build components such as collimator plates, and silicon based microchannel plate detectors for use in low profile plasma spectrometers for exploration of the magnetosphere such as NASA?s Magnetospheric Constellation mission. The proposed instrument under development at NASA Goddard and Johns Hopkins APL, will enable a small vehicle to contain many such spectrometers to map the distribution of charged particles in the magnetosphere over broad energy and spatial ranges while large clusters or constellations of these small vehicles can map charged particle distributions over large areas.

The compact plasma spectrometer will find commercial applications in diagnostic equipment used in semiconductor device manufacturing. Plasma processing is wide spread and the miniature plasma spectrometer will find use in monitoring plasma processing environments. Also the compact energy discriminator can be adapted to producing miniature electron energy analyzers for use in analytical surface spectroscopies.