NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 A2.06-8361
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Smart, Adaptive Aerospace Vehicles With Intelligence
PROPOSAL TITLE: Power for Vehicle Embedded MEMS Sensors

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
TPL Inc
3921 Academy Parkway North, NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109-4416
(505)344-6744

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Charles D.E. Lakeman
clakeman@tplinc.com
3921 Academy Parkway North, NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109-4416
(505)342-4427

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Embedded wireless sensors of the future will enable flight vehicle systems to be "highly aware" of onboard health and performance parameters, as well as the external flow field and potential threat environments. Because there will be no opportunity to replace batteries on a regular basis, these systems will have to rely on energy harvesting strategies to convert ambient energy into electrical energy to provide long-lived power. TPL proposes to develop a MEMS-scale power system that will combine TPL's patented volumetric electrochemical micro-devices (microbatteries and microsupercapacitors) with energy harvesting for long lived power. Volumetric electrochemical devices are a unique and critical feature of our approach, which provide energy storage capabilities and high power density to minimize the total volume and footprint of the micropower system. The proposed effort will evaluate designs combining microbatteries, microsupercapacitors and energy harvesting devices with respect to the trade-offs between size, maximum power, duty cycle, and energy source availability. TPL's partner, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), brings expertise in the space arena, and will provide technical guidance and advice on sensor requirements, integration and packaging for space. This partnership will be critical to realizing space-qualified devices.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
MEMS, and microsystems in general, will enable miniaturized accelerometers, gyroscopes, and numerous other innovative sensors and actuators. Furthermore, the advancement of wireless communication technologies opens the possibility of completely wireless systems, eliminating the cost, weight and potential for failure of conventional wiring. These systems will find application in structural health monitoring for various aerospace vehicles including robotic probes, space shuttles, and aircraft. All these devices will need a small size source of electrical power. The proposed innovative devices will provide a novel, low-cost solution to this need.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
As with many NASA-funded innovations, there are numerous civilian as well as defense applications for small form-factor, environmentally benign electrochemical power sources. As microsystems find wider use in government and consumer applications, such as active RFID tags, sensors for industrial process control, chem./bio agent detection, power in a small size package will become critical.