NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 X4.02-9958
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Space Suit Life Support Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Miniature Sensor Probe for O2, CO2, and H2O Monitoring in Space Suits

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc.
2520 West 237th Street
Torrance, CA 90505 - 5217
(424) 263-6300

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jesus Delgado Alonso
2520 West 237th Street
Torrance, CA 90505 - 5217
(424) 263-6321

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Advanced space suit technologies require lightweight, low-power, durable sensors for monitoring critical life support constituents. Current technology cannot provide the compact sensors with a tolerance for liquid water that are specifically requested for next-generation portable life support systems (PLSS). Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) proposes to develop a luminescence-based optical sensor suite to monitor carbon dioxide, oxygen and humidity. Optical sensors are superior to electrical sensors, in terms of robustness, reliability and maintenance. These advantages are most notable in moist environments. Our monitor will incorporate robust sensors for carbon dioxide, oxygen, and humidity partial pressure, interrogated using a compact, low-power optoelectronic unit. The proposed sensors will not only tolerate liquid water but will actually operate while wet, and can be remotely connected to the electronic circuitry by an electromagnetic interference (EMI)-proof optical fiber cable. For space systems control, miniature fiber optic sensors connected to the electronic circuitry by an optical fiber cable allow greater flexibility in placing the sensor in highly constrained volume systems such as PLLS. Our flow-through monitor will include a 1 mm diameter optical sensor we are currently developing for PLSS humidity monitoring and an optical oxygen sensor that uses similar IOS technology. Building on this work, in the proposed Phase I, IOS will develop and demonstrate a carbon dioxide sensor based on the same approach, and a prototype PPCO2-H2O-O2 sensor probe will be fabricated and tested in relevant environmental conditions. In Phase II, we will manufacture prototypes for space qualification and conduct extensive testing under simulated environmental conditions culminating in validation in NASA systems, bringing the monitor to TRL 7.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Advanced Extra-Vehicular Activity systems are necessary for the successful support of the International Space Station beyond 2020, and future human space exploration missions for in-space microgravity EVA, and for planetary surface exploration. The proposed multiparameter monitor responds directly to a NASA need for partial pressure monitoring of carbon dioxide, oxygen and humidity in portable life support systems (PLSS). This device will also have application as a monitor for air quality in the pressurized cabin of crewed spacecraft, improving reliability of closed-loop environmental control systems, and resulting in significant improvements in miniaturization, operational reliability, and sensor life-time. Sensors capable of monitoring trace contaminants in both air and water with functionality in microgravity, low pressure and elevated oxygen environments could be designed using the same sensing technology and optoelectronic unit.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are a large number of potential commercial applications for a combined miniature probe for oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity, as well as for the individual sensors themselves. Our initial focus will be on market niches where miniaturization, high performance, and operation in mixed gas/aqueous environments are desired. The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, which require miniature probes and minimally invasive monitors for accurately determining humidity, oxygen, and/or carbon dioxide for process control, product quality control, and I&R activity, will be target markets. Biomedical monitoring may also be an attractive business opportunity; non-invasive or minimally invasive sensors and miniature probes, for measuring and monitoring PCO2 and PO2, have many potential applications for monitoring tissue oxygen supply and blood perfusion. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, indoor environmental control may provide the largest potential market. Temperature, humidity, CO2 content, and oxygen content, in that order, are by far the most important determinants of comfort in rooms and buildings. A reliable, cost-effective monitor for these parameters, used as part of an advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system could significantly lower energy usage and associated costs.

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)
Chemical/Environmental (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Health Monitoring & Sensing (see also Sensors)
Process Monitoring & Control

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43