NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 X2.02-8926
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Autonomous Precision Landing and Hazard Detection and Avoidance
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Sensitivity Indium Phosphide Based Avalanche Photodiode Focal Plane Arrays

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
nLight Photonics
5408 NE 88th Street, Building E
Vancouver, WA 98665 - 0990
(360) 566-4479

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Steve Patterson
5408 NE 88th Street, Building E
Vancouver, WA 98665 - 0990
(360) 566-4460

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
nLight has demonstrated highly-uniform APD arrays based on the highly sensitive InGaAs/InP material system. These results provide great promise for achieving the performance and uniformity requirements necessary to enable 3D LIDAR applications such as autonomous precision landing and hazard detection avoidance. The high degree of uniformity demonstrated offers the potential for biasing the entire APD FPA at a single bias point. This is expected to lead to a dramatic reduction in the complexity of the integrated circuit driver, and allow for scaling to arrays of 256x256 elements and larger. Combined with reduced transmitter power requirements due to high detector sensitivity and low noise, this will ultimately lead to improved compactness, low mass, improved resolution, and low power consumption – all of which are of concern in NASA applications such as the un-manned Lunar or Mars landing vehicles.

In the proposed Phase 2 program, nLight will optimize the performance and demonstrate manufacturability of the highly uniform epitaxy demonstrated in the first phase. These InGaAs APDs are expected to show gains in excess of 10, with very low dark current and noise factors, making them well suited for LIDAR detection. Highly-uniform dense focal plane arrays of various sizes up to 256x256 elements will be fabricated and tested. These arrays will be flip-chip bonded to read-out integrated circuitry for testing in 3D flash LIDAR cameras.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
1. Autonomous precision landing including hazard detection and avoidance
2. Spacecraft docking
3. Terrestrial and space-based atmospheric sensing

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
1. Military - Eyesafe rangefinders
2. Military - Covert, eyesafe surveillance through obfuscated conditions such as smoke, fog, rain
3. Military - Covert, eyesafe surveillance in MOUT (military operations urban terrain) and dense canopy/foliage settings
4. Military - Unmanned autonomous ground and airborne vehicles
5. Consumer - Adaptive cruise control, unmanned parking
6. Medical - Medical 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.

Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Optical & Photonic Materials
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials

Form Generated on 10-23-08 13:36