NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Thermal Control for Instruments
PROPOSAL TITLE:High Efficiency, Easy-to-Manufacture Engineered Nanomaterials for Thermoelectric Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Voxtel, Inc.
12725 SW Millikan Way, Suite 230
Beaverton, OR 97005-1687
(971) 223-5646

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Andreas R Stonas
12725 SW Millikan Way, Suite 230
Beaverton, OR  97005-1687
(971) 223-5646

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Leveraging the successful Phase I SBIR program, a 24-month effort is proposed to optimize and demonstrate a high thermoelectric Figure-of-Merit (ZT) nanocrystal quantum dot (NQD) thermoelectric (TE) material, which will have thermal efficiency properties far better than traditional bulk thermoelectric materials. In the proposed work, a series of TE devices will be fabricated from solidified NQD films formed from colloidally synthesized NQDs using consolidation and second phase precipitation. The increase of ZT, is dependent on quantum confinement of electrons and holes, as well as the phonon dynamics and transport of the materials. If the size of a semiconductor is smaller than the mean free path of phonons and larger than that of electrons or holes, one can reduce thermal conductivity by boundary scattering without affecting electrical transport. Although charge transport in thermoelectricity is almost monoenergetic (energy levels within a few kT around the Fermi energy), heat transport by phonons is broadband over the Brillouin zone. The significance of the opportunity is the ability to colloidally-manufacture, high performance, conformal, thin film TE materials, free from the lattice and other constraints of MBE growth.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The sensitivity, reliability, linearity, and stability of electrical and optical components are critical to NASA missions and are reliant on proper thermal management. Thermoelectric (TE) coolers can be used to chill spaceborne infrared detectors, and regulate the temperature of computers and other electronic gear; however, the widespread use of TE components is presently limited by their inefficiency and cost. Thus, this research is highly significant to NASA. Proven feasible, this technology can have a significant impact on the thermal control technology for future instruments and NASA space platforms. New thermoelectric materials will make a dramatic difference for NASA's next-generation instruments that demand increased efficiencies and reduced power budgets. NASA is at the advent of using smaller and higher resolution instruments. By using advanced thermoelectric coolers capable of providing cooling at 150 K and below, NASA's instrumentation capability will be significantly improved, in terms of stability, resolution, and speed.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Cheaper, more efficient TE materials would enable a variety of demanding cooling and power generation applications such as portable refrigeration, micro-coolers for infrared detector/laser diode/CCD/PC microprocessors, temperature controllers for critical components, thermal cyclers, and other temperature management tools. And are also of relevance to everything from automotive engineering to consumer electronics. TECs are of particular interest to chip manufacturers, who face challenges in disposing of waste heat from increasingly miniaturized integrated circuits. Ultimately, TECs could provide maintenance-free refrigeration in a variety of consumer markets such as food storage and air conditioning that are presently served by mechanical compressors that rely upon moving parts, valves, and airtight seals. TE generators could also eventually be used to scavenge waste heat, such as that produced by combustion in an automobile, and provide supplemental electricity.

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.

Computer System Architectures
Liquid-Liquid Interfaces
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Optical & Photonic Materials
Photovoltaic Conversion
Power Management and Distribution
Renewable Energy
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials
Thermoelectric Conversion

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04