NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 S1.06-8463
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Particles and Field Sensors and Instrument Enabling Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Self-Calibrating Vector Helium Magnetometer (SVHM)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Polatomic, Inc
1810 N. Glenville Dr., #116
Richardson, TX 75081 - 1954
(972) 690-0099

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert E Slocum
1810 N. Glenville Dr., #116
Richardson, TX 75081 - 1954
(972) 690-0099

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This Phase 2 SBIR proposal describes the design, fabrication and calibration of a brass-board Self-Calibrating Vector Helium Magnetometer (SVHM). The SVHM instrument is capable of making high accuracy vector component measurements of Earth and planetary magnetic fields. The major SVHM innovation is use of scalar field measurements made with the SVHM sensor to self-calibrate the vector measurements thereby eliminating the standard suite of three fluxgate vector magnetometers and the independent scalar magnetometer required to correct for fluxgate drifts and offsets. The SVHM bread-board conceptual design can achieve a dynamic range of ¡Ó65,000 nT, both vector and scalar accuracy with self-calibration of ¡Ó1 nT, and sensitivity of <10 pT /„©Hz. The SVHM bread-board will be miniaturized to meet volume, power and mass goals. The SVHM bread-board will utilize a fiber-coupled laser pump source and resonance drive, which permits reduction of helium cell volume by a factor of 10 and eliminates resonance drive coils and cables. The feasibility of designing a brass-board SVHM model using advanced laser and digital components was established in Phase 1. The SVHM bread-board will be calibrated and the self-calibration function demonstrated at a NASA coil facility during Phase 2.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The accurate measurement of the magnetic field components and their orientation in space is recognized as a basic requirement for space research. Conventional scalar and vector magnetometers measure the Earth¡¦s scalar field value in the range from 25,000 nT to 100,000 nT. The SVHM will be used to map near-Earth and distant-Earth magnetic fields in orbit and high-altitude aircraft. The major feature of the SVHM is its outstanding accuracy. This feature makes possible a major mapping project similar to MAGSAT with SVHM instruments on multiple satellites. On the Earth and other planets, the magnetic field provides unique information on the structure and dynamics of the planetary interior, fluid flow within and upon its surface, and the influence of the solar environment. The SVHM vector mode can provide high accuracy vector measurements of solar and planetary magnetic fields equal to or less than the Earth¡¦s field.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The SVHM characteristics of outstanding accuracy, omni-directionality (no dead zones), and high-frequency signal response will open up a variety of commercial and military applications. The SVHM will be used at the Earth's surface for geophysical airborne and surface magnetic prospecting as well as the new standard for geomagnetic observatories. A high-sensitivity version of the SVHM in a surface gradiometer configuration may be used for investigation of geopotential changes in the Earth¡¦s crust associated with earthquakes. The laser-pumped scalar helium magnetometer technology is currently being developed for high sensitivity magnetometers to be used by the US Navy for submarine detection and mine countermeasures applications. SVHM sensors in a gradiometer configuration may be useful for location of IEDs and buried sea mines. The miniaturized SVHM sensor using OSP technology will have applications in UAVs used for sea and land surveillance for submarines, tanks under trees, tunnels and underground facilities.

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.

Particle and Fields

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