NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 O1.08-8758
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Transformational Communications Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE:SINGLE-CHIP MULTIPLE-FREQUENCY RF MEMS RESONANT PLATFORM FOR WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Harmonic Devices, Inc.
2269 Cedar Street Apt. C
Berkeley ,CA 94709 - 1549
(510) 292 - 8016

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Justin P Black
justin@harmonicdevices.com
920 Keeler Ave.
Berkeley, CA  94709 -1549
(510) 527 - 2588

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
A novel, single-chip, multiple-frequency platform for RF/IF filtering and clock reference based on contour-mode aluminum nitride (AlN) MEMS piezoelectric resonators is proposed. This system is the first of its class to implement multiple frequency filtering and clock functions on the same silicon die. The AlN MEMS piezoelectric resonators proposed in this work have their fundamental frequency defined by the lateral, in-plane dimensions of the structure and therefore can be fabricated at the same time. This feature enables the definition of different frequencies directly at the CAD-layout level without the need of any extra etching or deposition steps as required by commercially available thickness-mode resonators such as thin-film bulk acoustic wave resonators (FBARs) or quartz crystals. MEMS AlN piezoelectric resonators characterized by low motional resistance and high quality factors in ambient conditions constitute the most economical and sole solution for reconfigurable, multi-band and multi-functional wireless networks. This RF multiple-frequency (100 MHz to 3 GHz) platform will provide new levels of component miniaturization, integration and performance for wireless communication devices, enabling smaller form factors and lower costs while opening the door for longer battery life.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Space-based communication:
Miniaturized, inexpensive, continuous-time, high-Q filter or resonator banks composed of contour-mode AlN devices present opportunities for novel transceiver, data conversion, and clock synthesis architectures. Target systems could include short-range radio modules for miniature satellites, communication networks for planetary exploration, radio astronomy, and GPS.

Active microwave / synthetic aperture radar (SAR): Active microwave sensors require radiation-hardened, low-loss RF filters for T/R modules. The proposed AlN passives satisfy these requirements and span portions of the SAR spectrum including the UHF, VHF, P- and L-bands. The AlN resonators are manufactured with a low thermal budget (< 450 C) and are thus potentially thin-film membrane compatible.

Harsh environment operation: AlN is a robust, low-loss material traditionally employed for passivation and for microwave substrates. Because of its inert physico-chemical properties the AlN resonators function over a wide-range of harsh temperature, radiation, power, and pressure conditions.

Novel acoustic wave sensors: Using a similar principle of operation as surface acoustic wave devices and quartz crystal microbalances, the AlN resonators also function as a sensor for chemical vapors, particles, and others measurands. Lightweight, low power sensor nodes could be used for health monitoring or in-situ atmospheric and planetary exploration.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The integrated chip proposed by Harmonic Devices will provide a compelling value proposition to mobile phone OEMs by reducing component count and freeing up valuable board space so designers can continue to add new features, reduce costs and shrink form factors. The current directly addressable market size is estimated at approximately $1.7B per year. Since these AlN resonators are fabricated with standard CMOS semiconductor processing steps on silicon substrates, they could ultimately become less expensive than legacy surface acoustic wave (SAW) and quartz crystal passives.

There is an extensive market for filters and resonators outside of the wireless handset market. Other applications include military communications systems, RFID tags, sensor networks, automotive sensors and control, wireline frequency references and filters (e.g. fiber optic, cable modems), base-stations, and others. In the low-IF range contour-mode AlN filters and resonators can be orders of magnitude smaller than their SAW competitor.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Architectures and Networks
Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Biochemical
Biomolecular Sensors
Ceramics
Gravitational
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Highly-Reconfigurable
Large Antennas and Telescopes
Microwave/Submillimeter
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Particle and Fields
RF
Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors
Telemetry, Tracking and Control
Ultra-High Density/Low Power


Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12