NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 S1.09-9077
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Sensors and Sensor Systems for Lunar and Planetary Science
PROPOSAL TITLE: Triple Isotope Water Analyzer for Extraplanetary Studies

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Los Gatos Research
67 East Evelyn Avenue, Suite 3
Mountain View, CA 94041 - 1518
(650) 965-7772

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Manish Gupta
67 East Evelyn Avenue, Suite 3
Mountain View, CA 94041 - 1518
(650) 965-7772

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In this Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) effort, Los Gatos Research (LGR) proposes to develop a miniature, high-resolution, low power, triple-isotope water analyzer for lunar and planetary exploration based on tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS) in conjunction with LGR's patented Off-Axis Integrated Cavity Output Spectroscopy (Off-Axis ICOS) technique. This compact instrument will provide highly accurate quantification of H2^16O, HOD, H2^18O, and H2^17O (δD, δ18O, and δ17O to better than +or-0.3 and 00/100, +or-0.1 and 00/100, and +or- 0.15 and 00/100 respectively) with minimal calibration or consumable standards. In order to achieve this sensitivity and accuracy, Off-Axis ICOS employs a high-finesse cavity that increases the measurement path length to several kilometers, making it much more sensitive than conventional TDLAS methods which typically have path lengths ranging between several centimeters to several meters. Moreover, due to the inherent benefits of the Off-Axis ICOS technique, the analyzer will be selective, robust, and economical superseding other high-finesse cavity techniques (e.g., cavity ring-down spectroscopy). In addition to being a strong candidate for extraplanetary exploration, the resulting instrument will be deployed for field testing and research by scientists in NASA's Space Science and Astrobiology Division.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The 2013-2022 NASA decadal survey states that it is "…crucial [to develop] an inventory and isotopic composition of lunar polar volatile deposits to understand their emplacement and origin, modeling conditions and processing occurring in permanently-shadowed areas of the Moon and Mercury...". One of the most important volatiles to study is H2O as it has been found throughout the solar system and is thus centrally important for performing comparative planetology to understand the origin and evolution of the planets and their moons. In the case of the Moon, the recent discoveries of large H2O deposits near its surface enable the possibility of performing high-resolution, in-situ measurements of H2O isotope ratios in the near future with the appropriate technology. Given the high likelihood that at least one of the New Frontiers Missions of this coming decade will explore the moon, as suggested in the new NASA Decadal Survey, an instrument that can make these challenging measurements is highly relevant. Conventional technologies (e.g., isotope ratio mass spectrometry) cannot be readily deployed and require extensive consumables, making them impractical in meeting NASA's mission needs. Thus, new instrumentation is required that can accurately measure water isotopes (Delta_D, Delta_18O, and Delta_17O). Our proposed instrument will be an ideal candidate for exploring the Moon and other icy extraplanetary locations (e.g., Mars, Europa, Enceladus, comets).

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Besides its application to NASA, a compact, ultrasensitive water-isotope analyzer also has significant commercial applications for environmental research and medical diagnostics. A preliminary market analysis suggests 5-year revenue exceeding $8 – 14M for these two markets alone. The proposed work is essential in making these instruments more compact, rugged, and cost-competitive, and will thus enlarge the potential market size significantly.

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.)
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)
Biological Signature (i.e., Signs Of Life)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43