NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 H14.01-8449
SUBTOPIC TITLE: International Space Station (ISS) Utilization
PROPOSAL TITLE: Orbital Fiber Optic Production Module

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Physical Optics Corporation
1845 West 205th Street
Torrance, CA 90501 - 1510
(310) 320-3088

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Kenneth Levin Ph.D.
1845 West 205th Street
Torrance, CA 90501 - 1510
(310) 320-3088

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Gordon Drew
1845 West 205th Street
Torrance, CA 90501 - 1510
(310) 320-3088

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
International Space Station (ISS) Utilization is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop the Orbital Fiber Optic Production Module (ORFOM), which addresses NASA's needs for sustainable space operations and full utilization of the International Space Station (ISS). ORFOM is an orbital scientific payload that will be capable of optical fiber draw in zero gravity onboard the ISS, and specifically "ZBLAN" fluoride glass fiber which is capable of transmission from ultraviolet (UV) to mid-wave infrared (MWIR). When produced on Earth, ZBLAN glass fibers exhibit excessive loss due to crystallization; however, this crystallization can be suppressed in zero gravity. Low down-mass and the high value of low-loss ZBLAN fiber make it an ideal candidate for commercial ISS utilization. During Phase I, we will design and assemble a prototype fiber draw system that will have the size, weight, and power (SWaP) to fit into a NanoRacks ISS payload bay. We will also demonstrate a novel fiber draw process using an in-situ coating and a method to start the fiber draw from a preform that can be used in zero gravity. In Phase I, POC will develop a compact Technology Readiness Level (TRL)-4 version of the ORFOM, and formulate a preliminary Mission Plan, which will be implemented in Phase II. We will also explore commercial applications such as rare-earth-doped fiber for fiber lasers.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The primary NASA application of the proposed ORFOM module is commercial product development and manufacturing onboard the ISS. Such commercial utilization of ISS capabilities will ensure continuous expansion of critical manufacturing capabilities on orbit. In combination with up/down-orbit delivery of materials, commercial development of ZBLAN optical fiber manufacturing will serve as a backbone for evaluation and implementation of the next-generation of manufacturing capabilities onboard the ISS. The resulting ZBLAN optical fiber product of ORFOM will have unique optical transmission, from UV to MWIR, which can be utilized in NASA's remote sensing, hyperspectral imaging, atmospheric monitoring, and environmental monitoring applications. In addition, ORFOM's rare-earth-doped single-mode ZBLAN fibers will make possible a new generation of high power, high efficiency eye-safe lasers for remote sensing and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The commercial applications of the ORFOM low-loss ZBLAN fiber will include infrared countermeasures for protection of military and civil airborne platforms from heat-seeking missiles, eye-safe fiber lasers for medical, industrial, and military applications, and next-generation optical communications. The immediate need for MWIR laser sources will be addressed through the active ZBLAN fiber manufacturing on orbit, which would allow fiber laser manufacturing for the mid-IR spectral range. Low-loss MWIR transmitting fibers will enable fiber energy delivery for emerging quantum cascade lasers for remote optical sensing and material processing applications, thereby expanding overall industrial capabilities in process control, safety, and environmental monitoring. The possibility of low loss ZBLAN fibers beyond the existing state of the art can also revolutionize optical communications, and have use as 1.3 micron telecom amplifiers. The aerospace market represents the most significant market for doped fiber lasers emitting in the eye-safe 1.5 to 3 micron region, while the medical industry forms a major market for portable diagnostic equipment.

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.)
Fiber (see also Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Photonics)
Microfabrication (and smaller; see also Electronics; Mechanical Systems; Photonics)

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:14