NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 S1.05-8704
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Detector Technologies for UV, X-Ray, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Instruments
PROPOSAL TITLE: The First Monolithic Silicon Carbide Active Pixel Sensor Array for Solar Blind UV Detection

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
7 Deer Park Drive, Suite E
Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852 - 1921
(732) 355-0550

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Leonid Fursin
7 Deer Park Drive, Suite E
Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852 - 1921
(732) 355-0550 Extension :107

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will address the needs of space astronomy, military threat detection, and scientific research for image sensors that are sensitive in the ultraviolet while insensitive in the visible spectrum. This is because solar illuminated backgrounds are orders of magnitude greater than the ultraviolet radiation of interest (solar blocking filters exhibit low UV transmission and scattered light). This program will develop monolithic imaging arrays made of 4H-Silicon Carbide, whose band gap is 3.25 eV versus 1.12 eV for silicon. This results in high UV sensitivity image sensor arrays with very low response in the visible/infrared along with negligible dark current without the need for cooling. Monolithic integration of each individual Schottky detector pixel with its own CMOS readout circuitry eliminates reliability concerns common to bump bonding of thin visible-blind semiconductor materials (GaN etc) with silicon readout integrated circuits (ROICs). In addition, Silicon Carbide is a more mature, defect free, material than Gallium Nitride. Finally, the wide band gap of 4H-SiC results in a higher level of radiation tolerance as compared to Silicon.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA has been employing single SiC detectors in solar missions, and would be very interested in arrays of such solar-blind detectors for UV space astronomy missions if available. As exemplified in the Hubble telescope instruments, long wavelength blocking filters exact a high price due to their limited life and low transmission in the ultraviolet.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There is an existing and continuing need for solar blind image sensors that do not employ vacuum tubes, improving reliability and reducing the cost of sensors that improve the ability to detect missile threats against the daytime sky background. There is a need for ultraviolet spectrometers employed in research to minimize sensitivity to scattered light at longer wavelengths. Solar blind UV imaging is needed in bio-chemistry to detect unique target signatures in detection of chemical surface residues and biological agents. Robust SiC CMOS-based digital circuits would be of interest for nuclear physics research tools. Thus the customers are DOD, NASA, DOE, and academic and industrial research laboratories.

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)
Image Capture (Stills/Motion)
Materials & Structures (including Optoelectronics)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43