NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 S2.01-9065
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Science Instruments for Conducting Solar System Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE:Cavity-Enhanced Gas Analyzer for In-Situ Sampling of Biogenic Gases and their Isotopes

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Los Gatos Research
67 East Evelyn Avenue, Suite 3
Mountain View ,CA 94041 - 1518
(650) 965 - 7772

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Manish   Gupta
m.gupta@lgrinc.com
67 East Evelyn Avenue, Suite 3
Mountain View, CA  94041 -1518
(650) 965 - 7874

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project concerns the novel application of cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy to quantify biogenic gases (CH4, CO2, and NH3) and their isotopes (13C/12C and 18O/16O) on Mars and other future planetary missions. These species and their isotope ratios are of critical importance to NASA, because they have been implicating in biological activity and can provide decisive evidence for a biosphere on other planets. In Phase I, we will demonstrate technical feasibility by building a miniature, lightweight Off-Axis ICOS spectrometer and employing it to accurately quantify biogenic gases and their associated isotopes at concentrations approximating the expected Martian atmosphere. The prototype will be tested under both mechanical vibrations and thermal fluctuations to validate its robustness. Final Phase I work will entail developing a gas sampling strategy suitable for Mars and designing a complete analyzer system. In Phase II, Los Gatos Research will build and deliver this analyzer with a fully-integrated electronics package that satisfies NASA's size, weight, and power requirements for Mars deployment. The proposed instrument will be the first sensor capable of measuring the concentrations and isotopes ratios of critical biogenic gases in a compact, lightweight, and low-power package.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
This SBIR effort addresses key objectives outlined in NASA's Solar System Exploration Roadmap, with an emphasis on studying the climate and biosphere on Mars. The proposed analyzer will address these objectives by measuring the CO2 isotope ratio to help develop atmospheric mixing models, while searching for short-lived, biogenic species (e.g. CH4 and NH3). Recent observations have led researchers to speculate that biogenic or thermogenic CH4 seeps must be present on Mars, and their source can be convincingly determined by measuring the CH4 isotope ratio. Similarly, since NH3 is an indicator of life, there also is substantial value in its measurement.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Besides its application to NASA, a compact, ultrasensitive gas isotopes analyzer also has significant commercial application. Through a series of strategic partnerships, LGR is developing a suite of analytical instrumentation to measure isotope ratios for medical and petrochemical applications. The proposed work is essential in making these instruments more compact, rugged, and cost competitive, and will thus enlarge the potential market size significantly.

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
Optical


Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12