This NASA Phase II SBIR program would develop low profile, self-diagnosing nanomembrane based pressure sensors with minimum power consumption and fast operation time for flight test applications, using silicon on insulator nanomembrane techniques in combination with nanocomposite materials. Such low-modulus, conformal nanomembrane sensor skins with integrated self-diagnosis, interconnect elements and electronic devices can be applied to new or existing wind tunnel models for flow dynamics analysis, or to flight test vehicles for real-time monitoring. The team will transition self-diagnosing nanomembrane based pressure sensors from their current concept to prototype stage products of use to flight test facilities. The team will perform synthesis of sensor materials with optimized transduction, hysteresis and environmental properties. The team will integrate NIST-traceable standards and methodologies to the sensor skins. The team will then fabricate the self-diagnosing, conformal nanomembrane based pressure sensors using optimized materials with “flip-chip” through-thickness patterning. Support electronics will be developed to acquire, multiplex, store and process raw sensor array data.
Miniaturized conformal surface pressure sensors integrated with autonomous self-diagnosis capabilities are greatly needed for NASA flight test facilities. The traditional bench-level calibration of instruments during maintenance periods is often difficult or impossible. An appreciation of the instrumentation issues obtained by working with NASA centers would allow improvements in sensor materials, electronics and packaging, and potentially allow the transition of related products to operational vehicles.
Primary customers would be university, government laboratory and industry researchers. Semiconductor nanomembrane sensor skins can be patterned in two dimensions to create multi-sensor element arrays with NIST traceable calibration standards, and can be embedded into industrial systems and structures.