NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 A2.08-9753
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Experimental Capabilities and Flight Research
PROPOSAL TITLE: An All Electronic, Adaptive, Focusing Schlieren System for Flight Research

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
MetroLaser, Inc.
2572 White Road
Irvine, CA 92614 - 6236
(949) 553-0688

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Drew L'Esperance, Ph.D.
2572 White Road
Irvine, CA 92614 - 6236
(949) 553-0688

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This is a proposal to develop an electronic, focusing schlieren system for flight research based on electronic cameras and spatial light modulators as dynamic programmable masks. Schlieren methods are widely used to visualize turbulence and shock phenomena. Focusing schlieren systems are ideal for applications requiring a large field of view, and are the preferred methods for outdoor schlieren systems. One schlieren technique for large field studies is the use of focusing schlieren with background grids. Recently, schlieren systems that use the sun as a background source have been developed for studying shock waves for aircraft in flight. The application of both schlieren techniques is restricted by the capabilities of fixed schlieren cut-off masks. Liquid crystal spatial light modulators afford greater flexibility, as the correct cut-off mask can be programmed and updated electronically. Since the spatial light modulators can be updated at video rates or faster, there is also the possibility of using the SLMs to correct for changes in the background. In addition, we will incorporate state of the art electronic cameras.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Flight testing is often used as a final critical check of the aerodynamic designs developed by computational and wind tunnel methods because the amount of reliable information obtainable in wind tunnels is somewhat limited and subject to interference. Outdoor schlieren systems using naturally available or dynamically changing backgrounds make it possible to examine shock waves and other phenomena from aircraft in flight. Applications exist in all forms of research and development associated with turbulent flow fields, including aero optics, flow control, drag, boundary layer transition, and flow separation. The proposed developments could be extremely important in flight testing, where few such instruments can perform in a flight environment.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Potential commercial applications include aero-optics, flow diagnostics, flow control, free-space laser communication, active laser imaging, high bandwidth video transmission, spectroscopy, and high-resolution imaging.

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.

Testing Facilities

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