NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 S2.05-9125
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Photon Detectors
PROPOSAL TITLE: High-Speed, Low Power 256 Channel Gamma Radiation Array Detector ASIC

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
AGUILA TECHNOLOGIES INC.
310 VIA VERA CRUZ, SUITE 107
SAN MARCOS, CA 92078-2631
(760)752-1199

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
M Albert Capote
macapote@aguilatech.com
310 VIA VERA CRUZ, SUITE 107
SAN MARCOS, CA 92078-2631
(760)752-1199

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Building on prior success in detector electronics, we propose to design and fabricate a 256 channel readout ASIC for solid state gamma radiation array detectors having a power consumption of less 100 microW/pixel, an event detection throughput of more than 10,000 events/sec, and a dynamic range of 20-600KeV, while providing a spectral resolution of 1% or less in a footprint of less than 12 x 12 mm. This will allow the creation of high-speed 20 x 20 mm CZT detectors with 256 to 512 pixels (1 mm or less pitch). Starting with prior proven designs, we will introduce an innovative, patent-pending readout scheme that reduces digitization to only one signal per channel. We will also replace polling methods with sparse access and an innovative technique that can keep most of the pixels operating while reading out data. These innovations may increase the ASIC event detection rate by orders of magnitude while reducing system power and processing requirements. These innovations are essential for upgrading current gamma detection technology for future missions. There exists no ASICs today that can come close to achieving this performance.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
Addresses essential problem area for NASA?fabricating CZT pixel detectors in a reliable and cost effective way. CZT detector technology has become a critical technology for NASA in hard X-ray astronomy. This proposal is critical for realizing the full potential of this detector technology in space platforms. Lack of a fast, low power 256 channel ASIC is one of the important challenges NASA faces in developing large area CZT focal plane detectors for hard X-ray missions on balloons and in space. The need is to develop a 256 pixel detector for a 20 x 20 x 5 mm CZT crystal.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
A variety of gamma ray imaging sensors are emerging in biomedical imaging. The potential market for such devices exceeds $10 million per year for Aguila. The availability of a high spectral resolution 256 channel ASIC would open a number of product opportunities, especially in hand-held probes for cancer surgery. Also, there is an urgent need for the technology in homeland defense. The technology is immediately applicable to handheld portable battery operated CZT detectors capable of differentiating potential terrorist nuclear materials from legitimate medical, industrial isotopes as well as normally occurring radioactive materials.