NASA STTR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 T4.01-9886
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Innovative Sensors, Support Subsystems and Detectors for Small Satellite Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: Photonic antenna coupled middlewave infrared photodetector and focal plane array with low noise and high quantum efficiency

NAME: Applied NanoFemto Technologies, LLC NAME: University of Massachusetts Lowell
STREET: 181 Stedmen Street, Unit #2 STREET: 1 University Ave.
CITY: Lowell CITY: Lowell
STATE/ZIP: MA  01851 - 5201 STATE/ZIP: MA  01854 - 2827
PHONE: (978) 761-4293 PHONE: (978) 934-4723

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jarrod Vaillancourt
181 Stedman St. #2
Lowell, MA 01851 - 5201
(978) 430-7128

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Middle-wave infrared (MWIR, 3-5 ??m) photodetectors are of great importance in numerous NASA applications, including thermal remote sensing for carbon-based trace gases (CH4, CO2, and CO), heat capacity mapping for earth resource locating, environment and atmosphere monitoring, and IR spectroscopy. However, existing MWIR photodetectors are require a low operating temperature, below 77K to achieve high photodetectivity (D*). The requirement for cryogenic cooling systems adds cost, weight and reliability issues, thereby making it unsuitable for small satellite applications. This STTR project aims to develop a new photonic antenna coupled MWIR photodetector with a significantly enhanced quantum efficiency. In addition, the antenna technology would also allow a large-area signal collection with a small active area of the detector. Successfully developing the proposed innovation is expected to provide an enabling technology for ultra-compact high performance MWIR detection and imaging systems suitable for NASA's small satellite earth remote sensing applications. In phase I, the proposed photonic antenna enhanced MWIR photodetector technology will be evaluated and compared with existing technologies. The proposed photonic antenna structure will be simulated to generate an optimal design. A preliminary photonic antenna coupled MWIR photodetector will be developed for proof-of-concept demonstration. In Phase II, a prototype of the photonic antenna coupled MWIR photodetector will be developed and packaged with supporting electronics and software interfaces for laboratory demonstration.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed photonic antenna coupled MWIR photodetector technology enables ultra-compact high performance MWIR sensing with high quantum efficiency. This technology avoids the bulky and heavy cryogenic cooling system and enables ultra-compact carbon-based trace gases (CH4, CO2, and CO) sensing with substantially reduced device size, weight and power consumption and improved system reliability for small satellite applications. It forms a key building block in IR cameras for numerous NASA's earth remote applications, including space telescope and high-sensitive space object imaging, high definition acquisition of radiation characteristics of Earth and its environments, monitoring of atmospheric variables such as temperature, winds, and trace constituents for understanding and predicting the earth's climate and potential hazards as well as topographical profiling of Earth for mineral identification and vegetation mapping.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The high-performance ultra-compact MWIR detector technology is particularly useful in detecting ultra-weak signals for many critical military and homeland security applications such as night vision, missile early launch detection and remote chemical sensing and detection for biological/chemical warfare. Commercial markets include leak detection, chemical process control, remote chemical sensing for atmospheric pollution and drug monitoring, IR spectroscopy, and medical diagnoses. The technology developed herein should considerably accelerate the commercialization of IR camera technologies to meet the potential needs of the huge defense and commercial market.

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.)
Detectors (see also Sensors)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:44