NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 S1.04-9435
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Sensor and Detector Technology for Visible, IR, Far IR and Submillimeter
PROPOSAL TITLE: Hot-Electron Nanobolometers Based on Disordered GaN Heterostructures

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Esensors Inc.
4240 Ridge Lea
Amherst, NY 14266 - 1080
(716) 837-8719

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Darold Wobschall
4240 Ridge Lea
Amherst, NY 14266 - 1080
(716) 837-8719

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The proposed research is to develop hot electron THz nanobolometers (nanoHEB) with unprecedented low electron heat capacity (~10-19 J/K) for use in advanced heterodyne receivers, operating from liquid nitrogen to room temperatures. The sensor is based on the effect of electron heating in highly disordered two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in GaN heterostructures. Several methods for 2DEG nanoscale patterning, including the split-gate design, are proposed to fabricate the antenna coupled nanodevices. Because of the small electron heat capacity of the sensor, the proposed mixer requires the power of local oscillator (LO) at the level of 1-10 ?W. With these sensors a single chain of THz multipliers may be used to provide LOs to entire array of sensors in imaging applications of heterodyne detectors. The picosecond hot electron cooling allows wide bandwidth (to 30 MHz). The project goals are to develop a technological route for fabrication of 2DEG AlInN/GaN microdevices, demonstrate effects of electron heating by 2 – 4 THz radiation in AlInN/GaN nanodevices, determine basic transport and kinetic parameters, and develop a preliminary prototype nanobolometer for 2 -4 THz range.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The hot electron bolometer and heterodyne receiver technology to be developed will have direct relevance to NASA Earth observing programs. Besides SOFIA, there are also several other NASA instrumental programs for which our THz sensor will be useful. The range of targeted planets includes Mars, Venus, Jovian and Saturnian systems. Development of the mixer for 2-5 THz will stimulate new goals in future planetary investigations.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The market opportunity for terahertz based applications includes industrial and environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics, medical imaging, medical therapeutics, drug development and security. Esensors will initially pursue security applications, and airport security screening because of funding in the area. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been tasked with implementing 100% inspection of air cargo on passenger planes and is backed by a $250M in funding. Esensors expects to sell the THz receiver at an estimated price of $15K. We estimate the total market to be in the range of 2400 systems.

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.)
Terahertz (Sub-millimeter)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43