NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 X3.01-9709
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Extravehicular Activity Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Membrane Interferometric Carbon Dioxide Sensor

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
PHYSICAL OPTICS CORPORATION
20600 Gramercy Place, Building 100
Torrance, CA 90501-1821
(310)320-3088

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Sergey Sandomirsky
sutama@poc.com
20600 Gramercy Place, Building 100
Torrance, CA 90501-1821
(310)320-3088

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
To address the NASA need for extravehicular mobility units (EMUs) with enhanced mobility, dexterity, lifetime, maintainability, and reliability for the International Space Station and for future missions to the Moon and Mars, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Membrane Interferometric Carbon Dioxide Sensor (MICADS). This sensor integrates a fiber optic interferometer, sensitive to displacements of a small fraction of a wavelength, and a semipermeable membrane to selectively detect, identify, and quantify gases at concentrations at the parts per million (ppm) level. The MICADS will measure carbon dioxide level by means of a selectively permeable membrane, which induces small displacements in a diaphragm that can be measured by the interferometer. POC's light, compact, and reliable MICADS sensor will monitor and control the air processing to remove carbon dioxide from EMUs. It will not consume oxygen, and will produce only minimal heat. In Phase I, POC will develop and demonstrate the performance of the proof-of-concept MICADS. In Phase II, a prototype will be developed and submitted to NASA for testing.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
In addition to use in space suits, NASA can use MICADS as an in-place environmental monitor and carbon dioxide controller in the International Space Station and other long-term installations. As an efficient means of monitoring air quality, MICADS will enhance NASA's exploration and colonization efforts. This technology can also be licensed to foreign users such as the European Space Agency. Modified versions of MICADS, with other membranes, can replace NASA's present laboratory instrumentation for measuring trace gases. Instruments that could be replaced or supplemented include gas chromatographs, gas chromatograph/mass spectrometers, nondispersive infrared spectrometers, and chemiluminescence sensors.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The most immediate application of MICADS technology will be in medical instrumentation for capnometry, which is extremely important in acute care units and has huge market potential. With other membranes, similar sensors can detect natural gas leaks and CO both in households and industrial facilities. Other markets include mine safety, chemical processing plants, and smog monitoring. Automotive applications with high growth potential in the near term include cabin air quality monitoring and truck engine management/emissions control.