NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-2 S2.02-8177
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Proximity Glare Suppression for Astronomical Coronagraphy
PROPOSAL TITLE: Nanostructured Super-Black Optical Materials

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nanolab, Inc.
179 Bear Hill Road
Waltham, MA 02451 - 1063
(781) 609-2722

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David L Carnahan
179 Bear Hill Road
Waltham, MA 02451 - 1063
(781) 609-2722

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Need: NASA faces challenges in imaging and characterizing faint astrophysical objects within the glare of brighter stellar sources. Achieving a very low background requires control of both scattered and diffracted light.
Significance of the Innovation: Aligned arrays of carbon nanotubes have recently been recognized as having world-leading optical absorption, far above competing state of the art materials. The nanotube array's diffuse reflectance (10-7) was demonstrated at two orders of magnitude lower than commercially available low reflectance carbons (10-5). The integrated total reflectance 0.045%, bested the field of competing materials, which are typically >1% at optical wavelengths. However, these arrays were produced on silicon, so they have limited utility for aerospace applications. NanoLab identified the potential to grow these arrays on flexible substrates, and proposed a Phase I effort to explore their properties.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The need for stray light control is pervasive, throughout multiple NASA missions. Among the applications we have considered for the aligned arrays, some are 'Aerospace only." These include: IR detector cold shields, coronagraph baffles, space-borne optical systems, spectro-radiometers, cryogenic radiometers, occulters, sharp edged diaphragms & blades, and passive thermal control coatings w/ tailored absorptance/emittance. We expect that these coatings, once advanced to a sufficient TRL, will be able to provide significant enhancements to a number of missions. The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) and New Worlds Technology Development Program (NWTP) are two target programs where we recognize the coating could have a dramatic impact on the performance of the optical train.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The Non-NASA, optical applications we have identified for the coating includes: black layer for contrast enhancement in displays and LED modules, solar energy absorbers,thermal radiation detectors (bolometers), laser energy sensors, black body sources and calibrators, and optical packaging for cameras, telescopes, & microscopes.
Non-optical applications are also possible using a variant of this technology.
These include: High performance supercapacitors, battery electrodes, chemical sensors /detectors,
field emission cathodes (xray sources, electric propulsion, microscopy), thermal interface materials
thermoacoustic loudspeakers, nanotube yarns, super-hydrophobic coatings, and gecko foot adhesives.

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.)
Coatings/Surface Treatments
Isolation/Protection/Shielding (Acoustic, Ballistic, Dust, Radiation, Thermal)

Form Generated on 09-03-12 17:04