NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 S1.03-8994
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Passive Microwave Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Schottky Heterodyne Receivers with Full Waveguide Bandwidth

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Virginia Diodes, Inc.
979 Second Street SE
Charlottesville, VA 22902 - 6172
(434) 297-3257

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jeffrey L. Hesler
979 Second Street SE, Suite 309
Charlottesville, VA 22902 - 6172
(434) 297-3257

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4 to 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This proposal is responsive to NASA SBIR Subtopic S1.03: Passive Microwave Technology, specifically the fourth bullet item;
"Low noise (<2000 K DSB), compactly designed (< 8 cm3), heterodyne mixers requiring low local oscillator drive power (<2 mW) with RF input frequency between 100 GHz to 1 THz." The proposed research is significant not only for the development of Schottky mixers that meet these requirements, but also for the creation of a receiver system, including the LO chain, that achieves the goals of high sensitivity, compact size, low total power requirement and operation across complete waveguide bands. The proposed receivers will meet all of the requirements for high resolution spectroscopic studies of planetary atmosphere's (including the Earth's) from spacecraft, as well as airborne and balloon platforms. Perhaps more importantly, their exceptionally broadband performance, compactness and reliability will make them ideal for the broader range of scientific and commercial applications, which includes the extension of sophisticated test and measurement equipment to 1 THz and the development of low cost imaging systems for security applications and industrial process monitoring.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The technology that will be developed in this research will enable the development of more power efficient and frequency agile heterodyne receivers to be used in NASA's submillimeter-wave missions that will not utilize cryogenically cooled receivers. These include long term missions to planets that cannot afford the expense or are of too long duration for cryogenic systems and studies of planetary atmospheres that do not require the absolute lowest sensitivity but rather benefit from the frequency agility, robustness and stability of Schottky receivers. Primary examples of NASA missions are those to study planetary atmospheres, such as VESPER, MACO and MARVEL, and Earth observing satellites such as SIRICE and possibly Cameo. In addition, there are a host of balloon and aircraft projects that routinely use room temperature heterodyne receivers to study atmospheric chemistry.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Compact, reliable and manufacturable terahertz receivers with improved power efficiency, bandwidth, reliability and cost efficiency are useful as basic laboratory test and measurement equipment. For example, it takes only five full band receivers to span the entire frequency range from 140 GHz through 900 GHz. A set of such receivers, configured to interface with commercially available frequency sweepers, would comprise a powerful suite of laboratory instruments, especially as frequency extenders for spectrum and network analyzers. This is a huge potential market that can be tapped only through the successful development of low-cost receivers that operate across complete waveguide bands. Other scientific applications of this technology include chemical spectroscopy, radio astronomy, plasma diagnostics, biomaterial analysis, electron spin resonance, and diagnostic instruments for particle accelerators. Defense applications include compact range radars, covert communications systems, imaging systems, and chemical, explosive and bioagent scanners. Biomedical researchers envision the use of terahertz imaging and spectroscopy for the real time analysis of skin diseases such as skin cancer. Potential large-scale commercial applications of the proposed terahertz technology include portal security imagers and scanners, medical diagnostics for clinical use, last-mile data links, and industrial process control.

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 Generated on 09-18-07 17:50