NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 B3.07-9667
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Biomass Production for Planetary Missions
PROPOSAL TITLE: Microdischarge Array Flexible Light Source for High-Efficiency Irradiation of Spaced-Based Crops

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Anvik Corp
6 Skyline Dr
Hawthorne, NY 10532-2165

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Marc Zemel
Anvik Corp., 6 Skyline Drive
Hawthorne, NY 10532-2165

It is desirable to develop a high-efficiency lighting source for large-area irradiation of space-based crops. The key requirements for such a system include high efficiency, light weight, easy and rapid deployment, compact storage, ruggedness, and low cost. Furthermore, in order to maximize the rate of photosynthesis, it is desirable that the light source deliver an emission spectrum that matches the absorbance spectrum of chlorophyll as closely as possible while minimizing the effects of emission outside of the visible spectrum. To address these demanding requirements and overcome the limitations of alternative technologies, we propose to develop a large-area, high-efficiency, flexible sheet light source using microdischarge arrays using the combined talents of Anvik Corporation and a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led by Prof. J. Gary Eden. The development of a new technology to enable the fabrication of large-area, high-density microdischarge arrays on flexible substrates, possibly powered by solar cells, will enable dramatic advances in the portability, ruggedness, efficiency, and light quality of light sources for space-based crop irradiation and a wide variety of commercial applications, including LCD backlighting, large-area UV-curing, decorative lighting, photodynamic therapy, and germicidal applications.

The proposed microdischarge array flexible light source can be used for high-efficiency irradiation of plants grown on planetary or lunar stations, space stations, or other spacecraft. Further, this light source could be integrated with an inflatable structure and powered by photovoltaics, making it a very low-cost and lightweight option for transport and deployment of such space-based greenhouses. Finally, the same technology used for crop irradiation could also be used for interior lighting of space structures.

The development of a new technology to enable the fabrication of integrated, large-area, high-efficiency microdischarge arrays on flexible sheets would enable the construction of a wide variety of devices, including flexible sheet light sources for LCD backlights, large-area UV curing, photodynamic therapy, automotive interior lighting, decorative lighting, and germicidal applications. Finally, through the use of roll-to-roll processing, such devices could be manufactured economically in high volumes. Such devices would be ideal for lighting applications where portability, efficiency, conformability, ruggedness, and low cost are required.