NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S2.02-8374
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Proximity Glare Suppression for Astronomical Coronagraphy
PROPOSAL TITLE: Achromatic vector vortex waveplates for coronagraphy

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
BEAM Engineering for Advanced Measurements
686 Formosa Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789 - 4523
(407) 629-1282

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nelson Tabirian
686 Formosa Venue
Winter Park, FL 32789 - 4523
(407) 629-1282

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Diffractive waveplates are optical components made of thin films of anisotropic materials by modulating their optical axis orientation in the plane of the waveplate. The family of diffractive waveplates wherein this modulation is axially symmetric – vector vortex waveplates (VVWs) – impart a spiral phase modulation at a light beam propagated through the waveplate. As a result, the intensity of radiation is sharply decreased at the axis of the beam by many orders of magnitude, depending on the topological charge and quality of the VVW. Such transparent phase components can be successfully employed in coronagraphy allowing imaging of exoplanets at diffraction angle limit of their separation from the bright host star using small aperture telescopes, and they will allow increasing the imaging capability of large telescopes. To achieve this potential, VVWs shall possess with negligibly small singularity size (~ 2 micrometer) and be spectrally broadband in a large aperture (~ 25 mm). We propose to prove the feasibility of developing such components based on azobenzene photoalignment materials, liquid crystal polymers, and the optical printing technology that employs linear-to-axial polarization conversion. This feasibility will be proven in the Phase 1 by demonstrating achromatic VVWs in 700-900 nm spectral range and <10 micrometer singulary size.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The new generation coronagraphy systems will be of interest for many, small or large, astronomical instruments and observatories, including Palomar observatory, the Very Large Telescope in Chile (ESO), Keck telescope, Large Binocular telescope, European-ELT and the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT). A number of Government projects will greatly benefit using these components, among them the ACCESS (Actively Corrected Coronagraph for Exoplanet Space Studies, JPL) and its European equivalent SEE-COAST (Super-Earth Explorer- Coronagraphic off-axis Space Telescope, Observatory of Paris); and the TPF-C (Terrestrial Planet Finder-Coronagraph), one of the most ambitious NASA projects to detect and characterize Earth-like planets.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
High quality achromatic VVWs that allow high contrast modulation of light beams have important applications in many fields of optics and photonics, including optical tweezers, image processing, phase contrast microscopy, electro-optical and all-optical switching and information displays.

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.)
Adaptive Optics
Coatings/Surface Treatments
Detectors (see also Sensors)
Image Analysis
Image Processing
Materials & Structures (including Optoelectronics)
Microfabrication (and smaller; see also Electronics; Mechanical Systems; Photonics)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12