NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I

PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 15.01-4019

PROJECT TITLE : A Source of Gas Phase B and Al Atoms for Cryogenic Trapping in Solid Molecular Hydrogen Propellants


The combustion energy of light elements (Li, Be, B, C, Al, Si or Mg) can be realized to increase the specific impulse of rocket propellants if gas phase atoms of these high energy density material (HEDM) elements are trapped without reacting in a solid hydrogen matrix. Production of these HEDM propellants has been precluded by the lack of a suitable source of gas phase atoms (especially B) having adequate purity (99%) that is both compatible with cryogenic trapping requirements an is economical for commercial applications. HY-Tech is proposing to develop and build a well characterized source of boron and other HEDM atoms for this purpose. A beam of neutral atoms will be extracted from a vacuum arc plasma containing the desired specie. A curved magnetic field will both remove particulate and cluster impurities as well as thermally isolate the arc source from the cryogenic trapping region. The beam energy, flux, and purity will be determined using mass spectrometers and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive x-ray analysis. A 2.4 kW DC source capable of delivering an Al-B flux of 0.2 g/hour is expected. The source will find application in thin film deposition in semiconductor devices and surface coatings as well as in cryogenic fuels. The precise control of the energy and flux from the source, together with its high flux rate, opens up the possibility of commercially producing high-temperature, boron-based semiconductor devices by epitaxial deposition techniques.
The proposed source can economically generate quantities of boron and other HEDM atoms for commercial fuel production. The fine energy and flux control combined with thermal isolation of the source and deposition substrate makes this source ideal for atomic beam epitaxial growth of semiconductor devices commercially. Boron based semiconductors capable of operating at elevated temperatures will find widespread application in the military and commercial sectors.
Edward Yadlowsky,
HY-Tech Research Corporation,
104 Centre Ct. Radford, VA 24141
HY-Tech Research Corporation,
104 Centre Ct. Radford, VA 24141