NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 13.04-1190

PROJECT TITLE : Ultra-low noise analog and digital SQUID amplifiers

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Superconducting QUantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs) are extremely sensitive detectors of magnetic flux and can be used as low noise amplifiers, biomagnetometers, and for non- destructive evaluation. The minimum energy sensitivity for SQUIDs is h (Planck's constant; 6.6262 x 10-34 J/Hz). While SQUIDs with sensitivity approaching 5h have been demonstrated in the laboratory environments, practical SQUIDs exhibit white noise levels two to three orders of magnitude larger than laboratory SQUIDs. Several versions of practical SQUIDs have been demonstrated. These include simple analog SQUIDs, DC SQUID array amplifiers and digital SQUIDs. Regardless of the circuit architecture, none of these amplifiers demonstrate the true capability of SQUID technology. The current SQUID technology possesses adequate sensitivity for many applications. However, improvements in fabrication technology and in circuit design of practical are necessary to exploit SQUID amplifiers to their fullest potential, and further relax the stringent requirements on peripheral electronics. In the phase I project, we address fabrication and design issues and implement a process technology suitable for SQUID fabrication. In addition, we will also design and simulate a practical analog SQUID and demonstrate its sensitivity approaching the quantum limit. In the phase II program, we address system issues, integrate the analog SQUID into a SQUID amplifier- or a digital SQUID-based system and demonstrate a complete low-noise SQUID amplifier system.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
This project will lead to the development of an ultra-low noise analog SQUID for analog and digital SQUID-based amplifiers. These amplifiers have applications in high-resolution x-ray spectroscopy, imaging detectors, particle identification systems, biomagnetic medical imaging, and infrared imaging for scientific and military uses. In addition, they can also be used in detection of corrosion and cracks in aircraft.
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Dr. Masoud Radparvar
HYPRES, Inc.
175 Clearbrook Rd.
Elmsford, NY 10523
NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR
HYPRES, Inc.
175 Clearbrook Rd.
Elmsford, NY 10523