NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 S1.06-8783
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Particles and Field Sensors and Instrument Enabling Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Laser Femto-Tesla Magnetic Gradiometer (LFMG)

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: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This Phase 1 SBIR proposal describes development of a conceptual design for a Laser Femto-Tesla Magnetic Gradiometer (LFMG). The LFMG innovations include the ability to make both extremely high-resolution scalar field measurements (10 fT/rtHz) as well as stable and accurate scalar gradiometer measurements. The high stability of the gradiometer measurements makes possible exploratory investigations of temporal variations and gradients in the magnetic field at the Earth's surface due to crustal field changes, core changes, ELF and ULF magnetospheric disturbances, and surface electromagnetic effects associated with earthquakes and volcanic activity. LFMG instruments can be deployed as station magnetometers in gradiometer arrays to monitor geopotential gradient variations over ranges from meters to kilometers. Recently, an extremely high-resolution scalar measurement technique achieving 39 pT/rtHz sensitivity was demonstrated under Navy sponsorship. High-accuracy data linking for vector gradient measurement was demonstrated under the ONR 3MDS Program. The LFMG combines these key innovations to develop an instrument for exploratory research in geomagnetism. The Phase 1 effort will result in an LFMG conceptual design and establish the feasibility of designing and fabricating a brass-board in Phase 2. A plan for the LFMG brass-board installation, calibration, and performance evaluation will be developed for demonstration in Phase 2. The TRL is expected to be 4 at the end of the Phase 1 contract.

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. The LFMG will be used to observe magnetic fields at the Earth's surface with extremely high resolution. The major features of the LFMG that set it apart from other magnetic measurement systems are its outstanding accuracy and its ability to difference scalar measurements at many kilometers separation. LFMG magnetic field measurements provide means for studying the structure and dynamics of Earth's interior. 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 LFMG can be used for extremely high resolution investigations of geopotential changes in the Earth's crust associated with earthquakes and volcanic activity and eruptions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The LFMG with its extremely high sensitivity and stability will have a variety of commercial and military applications. including measurement of the magnetic fields at the Earth's surface for geophysical airborne and marine prospecting. The LFMG can serve as the new standard for geomagnetic observatories. The LFMG instruments can be used to investigate surface and magnetospheric effects before and after earthquakes and volcanic activity. The LFMG can technology can be used in the next generation high-sensitivity magnetometers to be used by the US Navy for submarine detection and mine countermeasures applications. The LFMG instruments will add high resolution ELF capability for solving DoD magnetic detection problems. The miniaturized LFMG sensor will have applications in UAVs used for sea and land surveillance for submarines, tanks under trees, tunnels, and underground facilities. The LFMG characteristics of outstanding accuracy and high-frequency signal response will open up a variety of applications in commercial security and surveillance applications.

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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