NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 S1.06-8301
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Sensors and Sensor Systems for Lunar and Planetary Science
PROPOSAL TITLE: Miniature Integrated-Optic Trace-Gas Sensors for Off-World Science Missions

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Physical Sciences, Inc.
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 689-0003

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Oscar D. Herrera
6652 Owens Drive
Pleasanton, CA 94588 - 3334
(925) 743-1110 Extension :17

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. David David Green
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 689-0003 Extension :8146

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
In Situ Sensors and Sensor Systems for Lunar and Planetary Science 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)
As miniaturized satellite platforms such as CubeSat increase in capability, they will eventually be deployed to other planetary bodies (e.g., JPL INSPIRE). An important aspect of this technology is the potential for the low-cost (<$30M/mission) in-situ quantification of off-world resources. Indeed, the recent NEO Trajectory Opportunities Study asked, What is the elemental and mineralogical composition and water content of primitive bodies? while the recent National Research Council Planetary Science Decadal Survey indicated that laser spectroscopy is a key technology that will provide answers via in situ measurement of off-world trace-gas species in various space-flight missions.
Towards that end, Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) proposes to develop an ultra-low Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) in-situ integrated optical sensor for the sensitive measurement of trace gases, initially water vapor. The novel sensor architecture, based on open-path Tunable Diode Laser Spectroscopy (TDLAS), will serve as a platform for a family of sensors, each able to detect one of the gaseous species of interest to NASA. The proposed project focuses on using novel manufacturing and engineering design concepts to create a sensor measurement head that detects <10 ng/cm3 water vapor in a 1cm optical path as part of a 10g, 1cm3 package. When combined with PSI's integrated electronics, the complete sensor SWaP is expected to be on the order of 500 g, 100 cm3 , and <600 mW, nominally 10-100X better than the current state-of-the-art.
PSI's Phase I Program objective is a laboratory bench-top demonstration proving the feasibility of the compact packaging design in meeting both the spectroscopic goals and the SWaP needs for future inter-planetary CubeSat missions. This will entail the design and fabrication of an integrated optical water vapor sensor and the experimental demonstration of water vapor measurements with chemical resolution relevant to in situ resource quantification.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
PSI will create a platform for highly sensitive laser-based sensors on a chip-like platform suitable for packaging in a housing comparable to a cell phone and amenable to volume production. The proposed sensor platform will be directly applicable to NASA CubeSat space exploration missions.
Although TDLAS technology is not much more complex than that of CD players, currently the smallest and lowest cost available TDLAS sensors weigh about 1.5 kg and cost ~$10,000. The high cost results from using: 1) laser packages produced in relatively low volumes yielding costs of greater than $1000 each; 2) bulk optical components; 3) control and acquisition electronics built from commercial discrete components. These costs limit TDLAS applications to low-volume markets where the expensive sensor provides an economic payback. The NASA need for sensors of low size, weight, and power provides an opportunity to develop and apply novel manufacturing techniques that overcome these cost barriers.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Success in project Phases I-III will lead to a new paradigm for highly sensitive and selective laser-based gas sensors. These sensors will be designed for high volume manufacturing using established micromachining or semiconductor fabrication techniques at costs enabling widespread deployment. While this proposal specifically addresses NASA planetary exploration mission needs for trace-gas detection, the products deriving from this technology can also address applications including wide-area networked sensing of toxic industrial chemicals and chemical weapons, greenhouse gas measurement networks, and other industrial, commercial, medical, environmental and consumer applications for trace gas sensors where cost, size, and complexity currently hinder widespread acceptance. Defense and Homeland Security applications of unattended ground sensors may also be supported by results of this project.

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)
Essential Life Resources (Oxygen, Water, Nutrients)
Health Monitoring & Sensing (see also Sensors)
Lasers (Measuring/Sensing)

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:14