NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-S4.01-8286 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 034719)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Science Instruments for Conducting Solar System Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE:A Miniaturized and Robust FTS Sensor

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
VESCENT PHOTONICS, INC.
2927 Welton St.
Denver ,CO 80205 - 3021
(303) 296 - 6766

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Scott   Davis
davis@vescentphotonics.com
2927 Welton St.
Denver ,CO  80205 -3021
(303) 296 - 6766
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Vescent Photonics details a miniaturized and robust Fourier transform spectrometer(FTS) for in-situ chemical and spectral analysis. Phase I research will focus on innovative electro-optic technology that
enables moving mirror replacement. A successful phase I effort will pave the way for a phase II chemical sensor prototype. The attributes of this sensor: i) small size, comparable to a book of matches, ii) low mass, only tens of grams, iii) small energy consumption, < .001 Watt-hours per
measurement, iv) high sensitivity, detectable chemical densities < 10^13 per cc, and v) robust monolithic construction, are aptly suited for future NASA missions. Such a sensor could be integrated and deployed with a variety of exploration platforms. A single device would provide identification and quantification of multiple compounds (e.g., biogenically important CH4, NOx, H2O, CO, etc.).

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The tremendous size and cost reductions realized by this device should open markets for FTS systems. Current commercial systems are table-top sized, require on-board computers, and cost in excess of $40k. We propose a sensor that could fit it ones palm and potentially enjoy the economy of scale for large volume production. Such a device could serve as a dedicated, in-situ, detector for a multitude of target species. Possible implementations could be automotive exhaust, industrial waste monitoring, and manufacturing control. Furthermore, the robust nature permits placement in hostile and otherwise inaccessable environments.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
To meet the future needs of NASA space exploration missions a new generation of miniature, robust, and versatile technologies is required. The small form factor, modest power requirements, low mass, versatility, and robustness of our chemical sensor are well suited for these needs. Deployable on a variety of exploration platforms, a single monolithic FTIR sensor could identify multiple chemical species. In the ongoing search for extraterestrial signs of life, the sensors capability to detect numerousbiogenic compounds (methane, water, carbon-dioxide, hydro-carbon and nitrogen compounds, to name a few) could prove useful.