NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 S3.03-8929
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Power Electronics and Management, and Energy Storage
PROPOSAL TITLE: Single-Chip DC-DC Converter for Harsh Environments

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Alphacore, Inc.
398 South Mill Ave, Suite 302
Tempe, AZ 85281 - 8528
(520) 647-4445

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Yu Long Ph.D.
398 S. Mill Avenue, Suite 304
Tempe, AZ 85281 - 2840
(480) 494-5816

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Esko Mikkola
398 South Mill Ave, Suite 302
Tempe, AZ 85281 - 8528
(520) 647-4445

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Power Electronics and Management, and Energy Storage 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)
Alphacore Inc. will develop a digitally controlled, high switching rate, digital hysteresis based DCDC converter suitable for space and harsh environment applications. Alphacore will collaborate with ASU scientists to develop a RHBD, digital intensive, single-chip hysteretic DC-DC converter module to achieve:
- Utilizing 180nm digital CMOS process, supporting up to 4.5V input supply, and up to 4A of load current utilizing a stacked power stage.
- First all-digital hysteretic converter, achieving 10MHz switching rate, with reduced output component sizing
- A digital slow-start (SS) option to sequence and daisy chain and sequence power supplies
- Digitally controlled regulation loop parameters, including switching speed, hysteresis window, settling time
The switching regulator will be fully digitally controlled, enabling portability across various process technologies. Alphacore's design provides a very fast transient response and high efficiency operation across the full load range of operation using digital. Having a fast-transient design is critical when operating a digital ASIC or FPGA that typically require a large amount of decoupling capacitance (lots of area on the board) to be able to respond to dynamic load change within their core.

The main characteristics of this design are: 1 to 5 V input voltage, 0.8 - 4.5 V regulated output voltage, fully integrated, load current scalable power train, high efficiency (peak efficiency at 94%) digital hysteretic converter. The main deliverable of this research will be a single chip, all digitally hysteretic controlled solution, where a fully integrated all digital DC-DC point-of-load regulator with programmable hysteresis window will deliver a load current of 0.1A to 2A. Due to its fully integrated solution, the controller design will be 2.5x2.5 mm2 on a 0.13um 18um CMOS process. The converter will utilize drain extended power devices to achieve high voltage compliance.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA's Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) provides "nuclear battery" electricity and heat to enable spacecraft to scientific missions beyond the capabilities of solar power, chemical batteries and fuel cells. RPS, as well as other NASA Earth Independent programs, has a need for Power Management and Distribution (PMAD) technologies with intelligent power management and fault-tolerant electrical components to operate efficiently and survive in such hostile environments.
Other anticipated NASA missions for science and exploration of the universe are expected to challenge current power management specifications. Alphacore's DC-DC converter can aid in supporting infrastructure that accommodates the ever-growing power requirements for NASA's science and exploration missions. Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) - scheduled launch mid 2020's - has critical power needs.
Other Earth-observing missions planned for 2021 and later are expected to have increased power management demands, including ECOSTRESS, GeoCARB, HyspIRI, MAII, InSAR, NISAR, Pre-ACE, TEMPO, and TROPICS, and are thus excellent potential applications for the technology from this program.
Other applications include solar system exploration missions such as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Solar Probe Plus missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This rad-hard DC-DC converter has applications in high-energy physics particle detection, nuclear weapon proliferation monitoring bio-threat detection and Space-based sensors, and medical imaging technologies. Alphacore has interest in this technology from developers of Time-of-Flight (ToF) Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner and other MRI equipment developers, e.g., Siemens Healthcare, Mediso, NuCare Medical Systems, and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

This IC improves available technologies in Space exploration and Earth orbiting satellites, such as the military/intelligence satellites. Boeing and Cobham provide support for this work. Other large defense, aerospace, and unmanned systems companies have radiation hard power management concerns. Alphacore has been in contact with Raytheon, ViaSat, Ball Aerospace, Orbital ATK, L-3 Communications, United Technologies, SSL (Space Systems), Loral, General Dynamics, Sierra Nevada Space Systems, and Dynetics Space Systems. Commercial LEO and GEO telecommunication satellites, such as Intelsat, Direct TV, XM radio, Orbcomm and Iridium can also benefit.
Cobham is a particularly good fit for this technology because they are both systems integrators and IC vendors, and their current portfolio already includes rad-hard DC-DC converters. Cobham is extremely interested in this program, as seen in their attached letter of support. Other companies like DDC, Microsemi, and Intersil also develop and sell components of this type.

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.)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Condition Monitoring (see also Sensors)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59