NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 S1.04-9545
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Sensor and Detector Technology for Visible, IR, Far IR and Submillimeter
PROPOSAL TITLE: GaAs JFETs for Extremely Low-Noise, Deep Cryogenic Sensor Readout

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
7 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079 - 2842
(603) 894-6865

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Rufus Ward
7 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079 - 2842
(603) 894-6865

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3 to 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Ultrasensitive sensors used in NASAs scientific missions (for example infrared sensors) typically require operation at deep cryogenic temperatures for optimum performance. However, to make full use of their performance requires an ultralow-noise preamplifier co-located in the same, or a nearby, cryogenic environment at liquid-helium (~1-4 K) or sub-Kelvin temperatures. A severe impediment to making such preamplifiers is the lack of a semiconductor device with satisfactorily performance in the liquid-helium range (or even below ~40 K). Past use of Si JFETs (operating at ~80 K or higher) has required awkward work-arounds. More serious is that upcoming missions will employ ever more sophisticated and complex sensor systems. What served in the past will be inadequate. Specifically, Si-based technology will not be adequate for preamplifiers needed for advanced sensor systems in upcoming missions and could become the bottleneck in performance and scientific return. Consequently, we propose to develop GaAs JFETs that can exhibit extremely low noise to the lowest cryogenic temperatures (4 K and lower). Our approach is to fabricate the JFETs specifically for low-noise, deep cryogenic operation and to use a novel, proprietary design for the JFET that avoids factors that contribute to noise generation in standard GaAs JFETs.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA's scientific space missions need cryogenic electronics for use with high-performance mission-critical sensors that must operate at "deep" cryogenic temperatures (liquid-helium and sub-Kelvin temperature ranges). These sensors include
1) Infrared sensors (photoconductive, long-wavelength bolometers, Si BIBs, and InAs staring arrays, for example),
2) Visible-range photodetectors (in cryogenic environments),
3) X-ray detectors.
Categories 1) and 3) are essential for astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology missions; 2) is used for precision spacecraft pointing in conjunction with cryogenic instruments.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Infrared and X-ray ground-based observatories; gravitational-wave detection; fundamental particle physics; high-energy physics; research on superconductive devices, magnetic spin transistors, single-electron transistors and other quantum devices; measurement of mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of materials, including superconductors and semiconductors; magnetic resonance imaging; scanning tunneling microscopy and acoustic microscopy; and X-ray spectrometry systems for materials analysis.

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.

Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50