NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S1.04-8576
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Sensor and Detector Technology for Visible, IR, Far IR and Submillimeter
PROPOSAL TITLE: Radiation-Tolerant Vertical-Cavity Amplifying Detectors for Time-of-Flight Laser Rangefinders

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aerius Photonics, LLC
2223 Eastman Ave, Suite B
Ventura, CA 93003 - 8050
(805) 462-4645

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Timothy Strand
2223 Eastman Ave, Suite B
Ventura, CA 93003 - 8050
(805) 642-4645 Extension :225

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The harsh radiation environment anticipated during the Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM) presents a significant challenge to develop radiation-hardened notional instruments. A high-performance, radiation-tolerant detector is required for the time-of-flight laser altimeter system on the Jupiter Europa Orbiter (JEO), which will perform critical characterization of Europa's topography, ocean tides, and ice shelf. Avalanche photodiodes (APDs) are conventionally chosen as detectors for standard laser altimeter systems. However, the performance of APDs degrades significantly after exposure to high levels of radiation. Aerius Photonics proposes to develop a novel radiation-tolerant detector that is suitable for use in space-based laser-altimeter systems by integrating a Vertical-Cavity Semiconductor Optical Amplifier (VCSOA) with a PIN photodetector. The resulting device, known as a Vertical-Cavity Amplifying Detector (VCAD), is expected to provide high-gain, high-speed, low-noise detection and demonstrate significant improvements in radiation tolerance over APDs. The optical preamplification provided by the VCSOA, along with its operation as a forward-biased majority-carrier device, renders the VCAD system insensitive to radiation-induced increases in detector dark current noise and receiver electronics noise. The VCAD is also expected to be significantly less susceptible to single event transients (SETs) than an APD. Aerius Photonics has expertise in VCSOA development and has already demonstrated basic radiation tolerance of VCSOAs to 300 krad with gamma radiation and to 300 krad with 63 MeV protons. In Phase I of this program, Aerius will design, fabricate and characterize VCADs that have been exposed to a more comprehensive radiation test plan that will include conditions anticipated on the EJSM.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Aerius Photonics anticipates applications in laser altimetry, terrain mapping, and other range-finding applications to be used in the Europa-Jupiter System Mission (EJSM) as well as other planetary science programs such as the International Lunar Network (ILN) and Outer Planets Flagship. Additional potential applications include intra-satellite optical networks and inter-satellite optical communications.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Aerius Photonics anticipates additional applications in both the military and civilian sectors. The Department of Defense has strong interest in radiation-tolerant receivers for persistent surveillance and secure communications between satellites. Commercial satellites also require radiation-tolerant receivers for many applications such as on-board optical networking and inter-satellite optical communications. Aerius Photonics has strong working relationships with prime suppliers such as The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, and Raytheon. Discussions will take place with all these as potential customers for the VCAD product.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Detectors (see also Sensors)
Ionizing Radiation
Materials & Structures (including Optoelectronics)
Materials (Insulator, Semiconductor, Substrate)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)
Positioning (Attitude Determination, Location X-Y-Z)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12