NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 06-2 S4.03-9573
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) 643-3800

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 2 K with a heat sink at about 15 K. The proposed magnetic cooler uses an innovative cryogenic circulator that enables a lightweight magnetic cooler to operate at a high cycle frequency to achieve a large cooling capacity. The ability to provide remote/distributed cooling not only allows flexible integration with a payload(s) and spacecraft, but also reduces the mass of the magnetic shields needed. The circulator has heritage in Creare's space-proven micro-turbomachinery technology which has demonstrated long-life (>10 years) with no-discernable emitted vibrations. The proposed system will be lighter than current multistage ADRs. In Phase I, we proved the feasibility of the magnetic cooler by showing its high thermal efficiency, light weight, and high reliability through detailed component design and system performance analysis. In Phase II, we will design, build, and test a prototype circulator module at design conditions. We will deliver the circulator module to NASA for integration into a prototype magnetic cooler.

POTENTIAL 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 cryogenic circulator itself has many cryogenic thermal management applications.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed magnetic cooler will enable NASA's future science missions using cryogenic infrared, gamma ray, and X-ray detectors, as well as the detector systems in 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 cooling for these missions at the required temperature ranges.

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.


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