NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 S1.09-8541
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Sensors and Sensor Systems for Planetary Science
PROPOSAL TITLE: Hybrid powder – single crystal X-ray diffraction instrument for planetary mineralogical analysis of unprepared samples.

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
inXitu, Inc.
2551 Casey Ave Suite A
Mountain View, CA 94043 - 1135
(650) 567-0081

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Philippe Sarrazin
2551 Casey Ave Suite A
Mountain View, CA 94043 - 1135
(650) 799-2118

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We propose to develop a planetary exploration XRD/XRF instrument based on a hybrid diffraction approach that complements powder XRD analysis, similar to that of the CheMin instrument of MSL, with single crystal diffraction analysis. Powder XRD will be used when fine grained samples are available, either as received or prepared by a sample grinding facility onboard the lander. Single crystal XRD using polychromatic radiation (Laue diffraction) will be applied when samples are too coarse to use pXRD. Laue analysis will allow identification of minerals in unprepared samples and enable ab-initio determination of crystalline phases unknown to current crystallographic databases. The concept can be applied as a contact instrument fitted to the robotic arm, or to an onboard instrument. Both transmission and reflection geometries are possible. We will develop the system for Venus surface deployment. We will emphasize the diffractometer development on high throughput and power efficiency without compromising resolution. The need for high throughput is motivated by the limited life span of a Venus lander. The Phase 1 research will focus on demonstrating the use of Laue diffraction for mineral identification and investigating the technical options for X-ray source, X-ray optics and detectors.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed instrument would be included in the science payload of landed planetary mission. It would provide mineralogical analysis of rocks, soils and ices, either by contact measurement, or after sample processing. The instrument will be developed for Venus but any planetary mission requiring XRD/XRF capabilities could use this technology.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A benchtop or portable hybrid powder XRD- single crystal XRD instrument could find a number of uses for analysis of crystalline materials without sample preparation. Possible applications are in-situ analysis of rocks in the mining industry, authentication of gem stone, identification of drugs, analysis of art and archeological materials, in-situ forensics, analysis of potential nuclear material by inspectors, etc.

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