NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 S1.01-8246
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lidar and Laser System Components
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low-Noise Analog APDs with Impact Ionization Engineering and Negative Feedback

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Princeton Lightwave, Inc.
2555 Route 130 South, Suite 1
Cranbury, NJ 08512 - 3509
(609) 495-2600

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Xudong Jiang
2555 US Route 130 S.
Cranbury, NJ 08512 - 3509
(609) 495-2584

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Future NASA LIDAR missions require low noise and large area photodetectors operated at short-wave infrared (SWIR) wavelengths. Silicon avalanche photodiodes have very low responsivity for wavelength longer than 1.1 um; and while InP-based APDs have high responsivity in the SWIR region, they exhibit high noise equivalent powers (NEPs) due to the relatively high excess noise of bulk InP multiplication regions. We propose to develop low-noise analog APDs operating in the SWIR region by incorporating impact ionization engineered structures coupled with an epitaxial negative feedback gain quenching mechanism into the multiplication region of linear mode APDs. The goal is to develop large-area (>250 um diameter), low-noise SWIR detectors with high quantum efficiency (>75%), high bandwidth (~100 MHz), and very low NEP approaching NASA targets of 20 fW/rt(Hz). In addition to discrete device characterization, these devices will be incorporated into prototype LIDAR receivers for performance assessment.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The major impact on NASA applications will be to dramatically advance the lidar technology in the SWIR region, where Si-based detectors lose their sensitivity. The I2E-NF LmAPDs developed in this program will greatly improve the NEP and the highest stable gain that can be achieved with linear mode APDs. This will be beneficial for the measurement of atmospheric constituents, such as NASA's Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS) program. It is also beneficial for the measurement of more general atmospheric properties such as wind and weather patterns, and will benefit NASA's Doppler Wind Lidar program. Lidar vibrometry identifies remote objects based on their distinct vibration signatures, and will benefit from the increased performance of APDs. As a result of this, the I2E-NF LmAPDs will benefit NASA's Aerosols-Clouds-Ecosystems (ACE) program. With improved sensitivity in SWIR region, the I2E-NF LmAPDs will have important application in free-space optical communications as well.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The I2E-NF LmAPDs developed in this program will benefit a host of non-NASA commercial applications, including a variety of range-finding, lidar, and ladar applications; optical time domain reflectometry (OTDR); and free-space optical communications. For range-finding and ladar applications, the current military imperative to shift these applications to eye-safer wavelengths provides a strong driver for improved APD performance at ~ 1.5 um. For OTDR applications, the use of OTDR at 1.5 um is critical for the characterization of optical fiber links as part of network deployment and maintenance. Large-area linear mode APDs with improved sensitivity will allow for more accurate characterization of longer links as well as improved discrimination between faults situated in close physical proximity. Commercial free-space optical communications systems will also be able to leverage improvements realized from the development of large area SWIR linear mode APDs which can operate in both 1.06 and 1.55 um wavelengths.

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.)
Detectors (see also Sensors)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43