NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Technologies for Gravity Wave Detection
PROPOSAL TITLE:High Power Electro-Optic Modulator for Space-Based Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
2311 S. 7th Ave., Building #1
Bozeman ,MT 59715 - 6500
(406) 522 - 0388

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Christopher   Palassis
2311 S. 7th Ave., Building #1
Bozeman, MT  59715 -6500
(406) 522 - 0388

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I effort will establish the feasibility of developing a fiber coupled, high power, electro-optically controlled, space qualified, phase modulator for the NASA Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). Specific to the LISA project is the use of three spacecraft, spanned by vast distances, to make gravitational wave measurements. A central aspect in maintaining system performance is inter-spacecraft communications which require the use of frequency modulated, high power 1.06 mm light. AdvR's proposed approach offers phase modulation of a high power continuous wave 1.06mm laser signal with modulation capability of 1.9 to 2.1 GHz and 10% modulation depth. The key innovation is the use of a waveguide embedded in a non-linear optical material suitable for high optical power handling combined with patented micro-electrode technology for high speed modulation. To operate properly in space, the phase modulators used for LISA must be rugged to survive the journey to space and must perform optimally in a radiation environment. To achieve this goal, the proposed phase modulator development will include a fiber-in-fiber-out design that meets the space qualification requirements for mechanical stability of the package and radiation damage resistance of the non-linear optical material.

Several current NASA applications will benefit from utilizing AdvR's waveguide based devices to advance their programs. Two applications for this type of device are discussed.
A non-linear optical material-based fiber-in-fiber-out phase modulator that offers a high optical power handling capability and is able to be space qualified will be the basis of this Phase I effort under the direction of the Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics at NASA GSFC. The modulator offers benefits for the LISA mission by providing modulated sidebands to a carrier signal, necessary for inter-spacecraft communication.
The high power phase modulator is also the basic structure behind a high power amplitude modulator that can be used for narrow pulse generation at the output of fiber amplifiers and fiber lasers targeted for atmospheric DIAL lidar under development by the Laser Remote Sensing Branch at NASA GSFC.

The fiber-in-fiber-out feature of the proposed high power modulator provides the primary basis for AdvR to enter the commercial market. As NASA demonstrates the benefits of having a fully fiber coupled system, the commercial market is likely to follow suit in a broader range of applications. Currently, there is no existing market for the proposed modulators outside of NASA, since no equivalent product exists. During the Phase I period, we will investigate market potential opportunities. As a result of the proposed Phase I, AdvR's general capabilities in non-linear optical waveguides and related devices will be advanced, such as packaging and enhanced performance. These capabilities are expected to be applied by AdvR to unrelated new opportunities, which will help to maintain AdvR's long term capabilities. The anticipated impact of the proposed innovation on AdvR is to provide a strong competitive position for successful market entry and a basis for offering a broad range of related products. Due to the lack of competitive alternatives for fiber-in-fiber-out, high power modulators, AdvR will be in a strong, competitive position to gain market entry. In addition to modulator sales, AdvR will be in a position to fabricate customized structures for sale to other laser OEMs.

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.

Optical & Photonic Materials

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12