NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Astrobiology and Atmospheric Instruments for Planetary Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE:Miniaturized Lab-on-a-Chip Polarimeter

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Intelligent Optical Systems Inc
2520 W. 237th Street
Torrance, CA 90505-5217
(310) 530-7130

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Srivatsa   Venkatasubbarao
2520 W. 237th Street
Torrance, CA  90505-5217
(310) 530-7130

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Life on Earth is unique in many ways; one of its great mysteries is that all the biomolecules of Earth's life are chiral and non-racemic. In our pursuit of life on Mars and beyond, it is likely that one of the clues to extant or extinct life is non-racemic chiral molecules. This proposal describes the development of a highly miniaturized and ultrasensitive lab-on-a-chip polarimeter to determine the chirality of samples. This proposal is based on a novel technology to achieve the miniaturization and high sensitivity desired for this application. In Phase 1 of this project, we will design and construct the miniaturized polarimeter and develop the software to run the instrument. The polarimeter will be tested with representative samples and with plans to integrate the device to the Mars Organic Analyzer that is being developed at the University of California, Berkeley. In Phase 2 we will carry out the optimization and ruggedization of the device for space-use and will carry out additional testing and integration to the Mars Organic Analyzer.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed device will assist NASA in its pursuit to seek life beyond Earth. It is assumed that the detection of chirality of Martian and other samples might provide insights into the existence of life, either previously or currently. The miniaturized size and light weight of the proposed polarimeter, in combination with its expected sensitivity, make it suitable to monitor extraterrestrial samples for chirality.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed technology has applications in many disciplines. The pharmaceutical industry will find the device valuable as the trend has been to develop drug molecules that are chirally pure. Research institutions can use this device in studying the efficacy of drugs in clinical applications. The device can also be very useful to educational institutions for research and training.

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.

Biomolecular Sensors

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19