NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-2 S1.03-7310
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Sensor and Detector Technology for Visible, IR, Far IR and Submillimeter
PROPOSAL TITLE: Novel Read-Out Integrated Circuit with Individual Pixel Programmability for Astronomy Infrared Focal Plane Arrays

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Sensor Creations, Inc.
5251 Verdugo Way, Suite I
Camarillo, CA 93012 - 8658
(805) 484-0444

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stefan Lauxtermann
5251 Verdugo Way, Suite I
Camarillo, CA 93012 - 8658
(805) 484-0444

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kadri Vural
6609 Santa Rosa Road
Camarillo, CA 93012 - 5672
(805) 484-0444

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 6

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Sensor and Detector Technology for Visible, IR, Far IR and Submillimeter 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)
One of the key components in many NASA missions is a large-format focal plane Focal Plane Array (FPA) to capture images or two-dimensional, hyperspectral information, especially in the Infra-Red (IR) domain. Apart from the detector, the performance of these FPAs is determined by the Read-Out Integrated Circuit (ROIC) that amplifies and multiplexes photo generated charge for signal processing by peripheral circuitry.
In this project, we propose to develop a new ROIC for low background applications, specifically designed to overcome present limitations of image persistence and inter-pixel capacitance (IPC). The main innovation in this project is an adaptive unit cell that can be individually and randomly programmed via on-chip logic to control bias state and reset duration of any pixel in the array while the integration of science data is on-going.
In Phase I we conducted a pixel trade study and performance evaluation for a Capacitive Trans-Impedance Amplifier (CTIA) and a source follower per detector (SFD) type pixel using analog circuit simulations. Then we generated the optimum unit cell layout, defined the overall architecture and created the top-level schematic. By the end of Phase I we have completed the blue prints for the design. The completion of the top-level schematics, verified through simulation, is a critical milestone in the development. It substantially reduces the risk associated with creating new ROIC technology and will allow us to efficiently fabricate and test the device in Phase II. All results from Phase I are documented in a preliminary Interface Control Document (ICD) so that the new ROIC can be considered for future missions.

In Phase II we will produce the layout of the entire chip for fabrication using stitching lithography in a state of the art CMOS foundry and demonstrate its functionality on packaged prototypes. By the end of Phase II, wafers of a known functioning ROIC design will be available for hybridization.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Infrared Focal Plane Arrays (FPAs) fabricated using this SBIR proposal's high performance, large format, and flexible ROIC will be a key sensor for nearly all NASA space missions which require high resolution infrared imaging and low read noise for low background applications. The specific applications include:

- Space based observations particularly where low noise is a requirement (for example deep space).
- Ground based space observations
- All missions that require infrared spectroscopy (and hence typically low backgrounds and low noise), including remote sensing.
- Space and ground based adaptive optics applications where low noise is key. These devices are used to correct for the turbulent media between the detector and the target of observation. It is assumed that either a small portion of the large array can be used for this purpose (engineering grade array potentially) or a new design performed using the building blocks developed on this program.

It is expected that leading IR FPA vendors such as Teledyne, Raytheon, DRS, United Technologies will be interested in this device for various applications.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are many applications for FPAs made using this innovative ROIC, mostly in the 1-2.5 m region (low backgrounds). It is useful for low noise apps and the larger formats appropriate for astronomy will be relatively expensive. Smaller formats, larger volumes including linear arrays can be built using the same circuitry. Potential apps are - Emission detection due to hot e-'s, leaky junctions, defects, latchup. Systems exist in the commercial markets that detect emissions from semiconductors requiring very low noise/large format FPAs. Spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging in industrial applications such as machine vision and process control: The incoming radiation is separated into several wavelengths and from the characteristics of the spectra, problems can be observed, identified, processes controlled. Medical - reflected near-IR/Short Wave-IR wavelengths can provide information on skin/tissue conditions and pathology. - Applications in Biotechnology - small signal fluorescence spectroscopy is used for information capture, e.g. genome sequencing.- Agricultural inspection - e.g. looking at relative moisture content or reflected sunlight for the health of the crops. Our device would be needed in low background apps where the existing systems would not be sensitive enough.- Solar cell inspection - The FPA here would bring more sensitivity compared to existing systems. Potentially looking at glucose levels in the blood due to absorbance at specific short wave IR bands.

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)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Detectors (see also Sensors)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)
Spacecraft Instrumentation & Astrionics (see also Communications; Control & Monitoring; Information Systems)

Form Generated on 03-07-17 15:43