NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Crew Systems Technologies for Improved Aviation Safety
PROPOSAL TITLE:Fault-Protected Laser Diode Drivers for Improving the Performance & Lifetime of Multiple-Millisecond, Long-Pulse LDAs for NASA LIDAR Systems

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Science Research Laboratory Inc
15 Ward St
Somerville ,MA 02143 - 4228
(617) 547 - 1122

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Rod   Petr
15 Ward St
Somerville, MA  02143 -4228
(617) 547 - 1122

This SBIR project will develop and deliver revolutionary driver technology with intelligent fault protection for driving long-pulse (> 2msec), quasi-CW laser diode arrays (LDAs) at high power with improved performance and lifetime. A critical issue with operating LDAs for long discharge pulses is localized diode heating leads to current and optical instabilities, which irrevocably damage emitters resulting in LDA failure. SRL has demonstrated that diode instabilities can be detected and eliminated. As a result, integrating SRL's proprietary fault diagnostics into diode drivers increases laser diode lifetimes by more than a factor-of-40 over unprotected drivers. In addition, in Phase 1, SRL will acquire data demonstrating that our fault-mode circuitry can be used as a diagnostic to a priory determine which LDA's will have long lifetimes. In Phase 2 we will deliver a fully engineered compact driver for powering NASA LDAs and screening their suitability for use in flight hardware. The Phase 2 driver will have specific power ratings up to 7 kW/liter, which is 4 times higher than existing laser diode drivers. The combination of fault diagnostics for increased laser diode performance and lifetime and compact packaging, makes the SRL driver an important technology for powering LDAs for NASA flight systems.

LDAs are a critical component for NASA applications that use solid-state and fiber lasers. These solid-state lasers are used as lidars for earth science projects for a variety of important atmospheric measurements. They are also used for space exploration including; planetary mapping, hazard avoidance, rendezvous and docking and high bandwidth, high data-rate communication links. The LDAs that are used for NASA earth and space applications require improved reliability and lifetime. Recent experience has indicated that unanticipated reliability issues with LDAs in particular can severely impact on-orbit mission life and mission success. SRL's driver technology is intended to improve LDA reliability and lifetime.

Initially the customers for the government market will be system providers for NASA and the DoD. From SRL's discussions with Boeing and Northrop Grumman, we estimate the market size will be small initially as these two organizations are in the process of delivering pre-prototypes and prototypes. The BAE Systems market is more established and, starting in 2008, they plan to deliver approximately 100 laser systems annually that will integrate SRL's fault protected technology. SRL expects to sell drivers for $10,000 per unit that gives a total market of approximately a million dollars annually. This market is expected to increase by 20% annually as SRL's power supplies are integrated into additional systems and Boeing and Northrop Grumman prototypes become NASA and DoD hardware. The private sector market is $3.2 billion annually and is interested in LDAs pumping solid-state lasers for communications, industrial welding and cutting, and advanced lithography EUV sources.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.


Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12