NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 O1.04-8043
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Long Range Optical Telecommunications
PROPOSAL TITLE: High-Efficiency Data-Rate-Scalable Laser Transmitter for Interplanetary Optical Communications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
RAM Photonics
4901 Morena Blvd. Suite 128
San Diego, CA 92117 - 3557
(858) 490-1030

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John Marciante
4901 Morena Blvd. Suite 128
San Diego, CA 92117 - 3557
(585) 771-7311

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 2

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Interplanetary missions are at the core of NASA's current space exploration program and are expected to lead the way to new resource discovery in the next decade and beyond. In the absence of manned craft, the payoff for a given mission rests in its ability to gather data and transmit it back to Earth. While sensors and metrology instrumentation are continually being improved with emergent subsystems, the bottleneck to mapping the solar system rests not with the ability to gather data, but rather to transmit it back to Earth.
Current deep-space missions rely on radio communications, while optical communications utilize laser transmitters with carrier frequencies around 200 THz for the most mature 1550-nm band. Although the optical bandwidth is substantially larger than radio communications, the required energy at the receivers currently limit the data rates to 300 Mbps, similar to that achievable with radio communications systems. However, the true value of optical communications lies in the directionality of the laser beam - the radiated energy is not wasted into a large portion of the hemisphere but transported to the intended receiver.
While many companies currently offer telecommunications-band amplifiers, none meet the exacting needs of NASA's space-com mission such as high efficiency, power, and dedicated (low) data rates. In this proposal, we propose the development of a qualitatively novel approach to high-power, low-bit-rate laser transmitters compatible with deep-space missions. Specifically, we propose to develop a master-oscillator/power amplifier (MOPA) system using two innovative and unique amplifier modules. The new transmitter device possesses both high efficiency (> 20% electrical-to-optical) and low SWaP footprint. The new transmitter can operate at 20W average power at arbitrary data rates and generate any symbol format, enabling both local (Martian-like) and deep-space (interplanetary) communications missions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The NASA commercial application is in deep-space communications. Specifically, we propose a laser transmitter capable of arbitrary data rate and pulse-position modulation formats. The system includes a novel contrast-enhancing devices to provide inter-symbol contrast in excess of 60 dB, with 20W SBS-free average power levels.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
PPM laser transmitters are of significant interest to deep-space optical communications. However, a multitude of other photon-starved applications required PPM transmitters, such as deep-sea sensing, aircraft-to-submarine communications, long-range LIDAR, secure long-range optical links, and optical wireless. Additionally, both amplifier modules have strong practical potential beyond the primary and specialized application of interest in this document.

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.)
Fiber (see also Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Photonics)
Lasers (Communication)
Lasers (Ladar/Lidar)
Lasers (Measuring/Sensing)
Waveguides/Optical Fiber (see also Optics)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43