NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 S4.03-9587
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Flexible Electronics and Nanosensors
PROPOSAL TITLE: Highly Integrated, Reconfigurable, Large-Area, Flexible Radar Antenna Arrays

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)
Dr. Marc Klosner
Anvik Corp., 6 Skyline Drive
Hawthorne, NY 10532-2165

Highly-integrated, reconfigurable radar antenna arrays fabricated on flexible substrates offer high functionality in a portable package that can be rolled up and transported on the ground, or deployed into space. High levels of integration allow for: reconfigurability of operating frequency and / or gain pattern; integration of control, information processing, and communications functions directly onto the antenna substrate; integration of MEMS sensors into the antenna substrate to monitor the system health during deployment and in service; and opto-electronic beam forming networks, providing immunity to electromagnetic interference. While the advantages of highly-integrated flexible antennas are significant, their fabrication is highly challenging due to the lack of manufacturing technologies that can meet all of the processing requirements on flexible substrates. In this program we will develop and demonstrate a lithography-based process technology that enables a variety of critical processes that cannot be carried out using existing patterning technologies, in particular: the fabrication of the radar elements and feed structures on very-large-area substrates; the reduction of manufacturing costs by using photoablation processes; high levels of integration by means of laser-crystallization, allowing for the integration of high-performance ICs; and a combination of processes to produce MEMS for on-board sensors and for reconfiguring the array.

The proposed program will lead to highly-integrated flexible antenna systems, featuring sensors, processors, and command and communications systems. Additionally, the antenna will feature highly directional gain patterns as well as reconfigurability, to cover a large bandwidth and a wide range of scan angles. These antennas will be lightweight and, since they are flexible, they can be "collapsed" into a small volume for launch into space, and then "inflated" at the destination site. This highly integrated systems-on-flex program would also have applications in other areas of interest to NASA, such as integrated sensor skins, and solar sails / gossamer spacecraft.

The highly-integrated systems-on-flex technology developed in this program can be used for fabricating mobile electronics, where a high level of integration on lightweight, flexible substrates is critical. There are also commercial applications in other large consumer market segments such as flat-panel displays, where portable wall-sized displays that can roll-up are the long-term goal of the industry; and in commerce, particularly in the areas of electronic labels and RFID tags.