NASA SBIR 00-1 SOLICITATION

FORM 9B - PROJECT SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 10.04-9110 (Chron: 000891 )
PROJECT TITLE
A Real-time Sensor for Hydrogen Cyanide in Spacecraft Atmospheres



TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
A need exists for continuous monitoring of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) in spacecraft/habitat air. HCN, a highly toxic gas generated by burning or smoldering plastics, can provide early warning of spacecraft fires. NASA has established a Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) of 1 ppm for manned missions exceeding one week. Useful space-borne instruments must satisfy stringent requirements unique to manned missions in space: low power draw, low weight, fully automated operation, self-calibrating, self-checking, and long term, maintenance free operation. The sensors also require an exceptional combination of sensitivity and selectivity: a 1 ppm alarm point requires a detection sensitivity of ~100 parts per billion, yet the system must be free of false alarms despite by large concentrations of other species. Southwest Sciences proposes the development of a sensor for hydrogen cyanide based on optical absorption spectroscopy using diode lasers. This approach will meet all of the requirements identified above for space-borne sensors. Two types of diode lasers could be used. Each has a different set of advantages and disadvantages, and the Phase I effort will determine which of the two is best suited to NASA's needs.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
Commercial applications include monitoring highly toxic gases used for semiconductor fabricaton and detecting trace gases in exhaled breath for non-invasive medical diagnosis.



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
David Bomse
Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco Street, Suite E-11
Santa Fe , NM   87505 - 3937



NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco Street, Suite E-11
Santa Fe , NM   87505 - 3937