NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 O1.06-9563
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Long Range Optical Telecommunications
PROPOSAL TITLE: High-Bandwidth Photon-Counting Detectors with Enhanced Near-Infrared Response

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
aPeak, Inc.
63 Albert Road
Newton, MA 02466 - 1302
(617) 964-1709

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stefan Vasile
63 Albert Road
Newton, MA 02466 - 1302
(617) 617-1709

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Long-range optical telecommunications (LROT) impose challenging requirements on detector array sensitivity at 1064nm and arrays timing bandwidth. Large photonic arrays with integrated beam acquisition, tracking and/or communication capabilities, and smart pixel architecture should allow the implementation of more reliable and robust LROT systems. Integration of smart pixel technology for parallel data acquisition and processing is currently available in silicon. Current silicon photon-counting detector arrays benefit from a worldwide manufacturing and R&D infrastructure but their response at 1064nm is not suitable for LROT.
In Phase I we proposed to verify the feasibility of increasing the responsivity of aPeak's silicon photon counting arrays at 1064nm by increasing their quantum absorption efficiency and demonstrating sub-nanosecond timing resolution. Phase I resulted in photon counting arrays with enhanced response at 1064 nm. Modules to be implemented into the readout IC (ROIC) have been fabricated in compact ASIC designs, suitable for integration into the smart pixel fabric – they have demonstrated 100ps timing jitter and have exceeded the dynamic range requirements. Noise, timing resolution, and linearity requirements meet updated program requirements
Phase II program builds upon Phase I results and previous smart pixel development at aPeak Inc with the aim to develop photon-counting arrays with enhanced 1064nm response and integrated counters at pixel level, capable of high - timing resolution and high counting rate. We propose to develop the photon counting detector arrays, associated ROIC arrays in ASIC, technology to assemble the detector and ROIC arrays, as well as in process ASIC mapping and maskless correction methods critical for the detector fabrication. Detector array design will be improved to meet the detection efficiency at 1064nm, while preserving or improving the detector noise, timing resolution, and linearity demonstrated in Phase I

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The novel photon counting array has the advantage of using high-volume manufacturing processing to yield compact, reliable detectors for space communications. These arrays will find application in free-space optical communications, space-ground optical links, detection or imaging in media with high turbidity, interferometry, mapping, robotic vision, very high-resolution 3-D imaging, hyper-spectral imaging, and space docking.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to long-range optical communications, larger arrays could be fabricated for single-photon imaging in the infrared and visible spectra with applications to security cameras, imaging of non-cooperative targets, single-molecule detection, integration into micro fluidic devices, biochips for biomedical applications, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, underwater imaging to many attenuation depths, as well as laser Doppler imaging and optical tomography in medical applications and cancer research. Due to their extremely short integration time, infrared photon-counting arrays could find applications in high-speed 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.

Optical & Photonic Materials
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials

Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26