NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Cryogenic Systems for Sensors and Detectors
PROPOSAL TITLE:Lightweight Magnetic Cooler with a Reversible Circulator

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Creare Inc
P.O. Box 71
Hanover, NH 03755-0071
(603) 643-3800

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Weibo   Chen
P.O. Box 71
Hanover, NH  03755-0071
(603) 640-2425

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA's future missions to investigate the structure and evolution of the universe require highly-efficient, very low temperature coolers for low-noise detector systems. We propose to develop a highly-efficient, lightweight, space magnetic cooler that can continuously provide remote/distributed cooling at temperatures in the range of 1 K with a heat sink at about 30 K. The proposed magnetic cooler uses an innovative cryogenic circulator that enables a lightweight magnetic cooler to achieve a large cooling capacity over a large temperature span. The circulator also enables the magnetic cooler to provide remote/distributed cooling and reduces the mass of the magnetic shields. The circulator has heritage in Creare's space-proven micro-turbomachine technology which has demonstrated long-life (>10 years) with no-discernable emitted vibrations. The proposed system will be much lighter than current multistage magnetic coolers. In Phase I, we will prove the feasibility of the magnetic cooler by producing designs for the magnetic cooler and the circulator that will demonstrate the mass and performance benefits of the approach. A magnetic cooler design will be delivered to NASA for future mission studies at the end of Phase I. In Phase II, we will design, build, and demonstrate the operation of a complete prototype circulator that will be delivered to NASA for integration into a magnetic cooler.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed magnetic cooler will enable NASA's large format detector arrays (bolometers and microcalorimeters) for sensing X-ray, infrared and sub-millimeter radiation in future observatory missions, as well as the detector systems in the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF), the Constellation-X (Con-X) and the Single Aperture Far-Infrared observatory (SAFIR). These detectors need to operate at temperatures in the range of 4 K to below 1 K to reduce the thermal emission of the detectors themselves and to achieve high sensitivity and resolution. The proposed vibration-free, lightweight magnetic cooler can provide multi-year long cooling for these missions at the required temperature ranges.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The military applications for the proposed magnetic cooler include cooling systems on space-based surveillance, missile detection, and missile tracking systems. Scientific applications include cooling systems for material microanalysis using X-ray microcalorimeter spectrometers, cryogenic particle detectors, and biomolecule mass spectrometry using superconducting tunnel junction detectors. The technology can also be used to develop large coolers for helium and hydrogen liquefaction plants.

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 09-08-06 18:19