NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 13.01-5250

PROJECT TITLE : Lower Power X-ray Diffraction Unit for Planetary Landers

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

The exploration of planetary environments requires sophisticated analytical techniques that can operate autonomously and comprise a small, robust, and energy efficient package. X-ray diffraction of mineral phases is a powerful investigative method that enables the determination of critical information about geological conditions and planetary history. In this Phase I SBIR effort we propose to demonstrate the feasibility of a compact, innovative, x-ray diffractometer by combining the power of small collimating polycapillary optics with microfocused x-ray sources. Monolithic polycapillary optics make extremely efficient use of microfocused x-ray sources, thereby reducing overall power requirements and the overall size of the system package. They also transmit a broadband energy spectrum that can be tailored for miniature x-ray source conditions while increasing the on-sample x-ray intensity when compared to mirror or pin-hole optics. If successfully demonstrated the instrument will significantly enhance the diffraction signal-to-noise ratio while reducing analysis time and power consumption. Our expert team of scientists, programmers, and engineers have the key skill set to develop this innovation in compact x-ray diffraction instrumentation. Furthermore, the enhanced strength of combining these technologies will significantly improve portability for on-site geological investigations and autonomous diffraction analyses in desolate and hazardous environments.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
A compact, portable x-ray diffractometer has significant commercial impact for both laboratory and field deployable applications. The minimal sample preparation required for the use of this instrument further enhances the commercial applications. For example, the autonomous use of the system in remote, or hazardous environmental sites. It could also be used as part of a larger instrument package in space-restricted production lines, as in semiconductor manufacture, or as light weight backpackable instrument for field geology.
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Johannes Ullrich
X-Ray Optical Systems, Inc.
90 Fuller Rd.
Albany, NY 12205
NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR
X-Ray Optical Systems, Inc.
90 Fuller Rd.
Albany, NY 12205