NASA STTR 2011 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 T4.01-9902
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Innovative Sensors, Support Subsystems and Detectors for Small Satellite Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: Infrared Microspectrometer based on MEOMS Lamellar Grating Interferometer

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (SBC): RESEARCH INSTITUTION (RI):
NAME: EPIR Technologies, Inc. NAME: University of California Santa Cruz
STREET: 590 Territorial Drive STREET: MS: Engineering Baskin 350A 1156 High St
CITY: Bolingbrook CITY: Santa Cruz
STATE/ZIP: IL  60440 - 4881 STATE/ZIP: CA  95064 - 1077
PHONE: (630) 771-0203 PHONE: (831) 459-2639

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Silviu Velicu
svelicu@epir.com
590 Territorial Drive
Bolingbrook, IL 60440 - 4881
(630) 771-0203

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Infrared spectroscopy is an invaluable detection and measurement tool intensively used in Earth Science, Solar Physics and Astrophysics experiments pursued from satellite platforms. The geometrical characteristics and sensitivity of satellite infrared spectroscopy systems is often determined or limited by their optical elements. Improvements in optical components allow one to reduce the mass and increase the sensitivity of the system. Here we propose a compact, high sensitivity sensor based on the integration of HgCdTe photodiode detection technology with micro-opto-electromechanical-systems (MOEMS) technology. This combines HgCdTe's high sensitivity with an inexpensive MOEMS lamellar grating interferometer (LGI) device. During Phase I we will perform the optical and mechanical design of the lamellar grating elements, identify suitable processes for fabrication, demonstrate etch processes compatible with the LGI design, and demonstrate prototype lamellar elements. During Phase II, we will further optimize the LGI components, minimize their size, weight and power, and integrate them into an operational LGI. A prototype LGI instrument will be deployed in an environment with controlled input of a variety of low-level test gases. We will develop and test detection-identification algorithms and build a characterization set-up to assess the LGI's sensitivity, selectivity and probability of detection.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The provision of additional functionalities to infrared detectors will provide new capabilities for associated spectroscopy systems along with the potential to improve system size, weight and performance. Infrared spectroscopy systems, and particularly imaging spectroscopy systems, may be enhanced or simplified by direct spectral discrimination at the infrared detector. The proposed detector arrays could be deployed in a National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), Crosstrack Infrared Sounder (CrIS) and other space-based NASA systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are numerous applications for infrared (IR) spectroscopy in the biotechnology, environmental, food/beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical, raw/processed material, and semiconductor industries. These applications are served by the current, commercial FTIR spectroscopic technology based on Michelson interferometers. This technology relies on "bulk" components with a relatively large bench-top footprint. An IR spectrometer using the proposed LGI fabricated with MOEMS technology could significantly reduce the size, weight, complexity, mechanical stability, power consumption, and cost of the instrument. These changes would enable new applications in current markets and in new markets, where some or all of these products characteristics are required. We envision the implementation of the proposed microspectrometers in industrial applications such as process control, temperature monitoring and preventive maintenance; environmental monitoring for pipe leaks, hazardous material spills, automobile exhaust emissions, and non-invasive medical measurements of temperature for detecting tumors and measuring blood flow.

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.)
Chemical/Environmental (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Detectors (see also Sensors)
Infrared
Materials & Structures (including Optoelectronics)
Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and smaller
Multispectral/Hyperspectral
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)


Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:44