NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Astrobiology and Atmospheric Instruments for Planetary Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE:Highly Efficient Compact Laser for Planetary Exploration

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Q-Peak Inc
135 South Road
Bedford, MA 01730-2307
(781) 275-9535

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Bhabana   Pati
135 South Road
Bedford, MA  01730-2307
(781) 275-9535

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In response to the solicitation for advances in critical components of instruments for enhanced scientific investigations on future planetary mission, Q-Peak proposes to develop an extremely compact, robust, efficient, Q-switched, solid state laser, producing 10-mJ, nanosecond-duration pulses, for use as a source for laser-induced breakdown spectrometers and lidar systems. One of our innovations is the application of "D-rod" laser-diode side-pumping technology to the laser material Nd:YLF, which possesses substantially higher energy storage and will provide significantly higher output energies for the same volume compared to the more common Nd:YAG laser crystal. The negligible stress-induced birefringence and greatly reduced thermally induced distortion of Nd:YLF will allow us to provide linear polarization and excellent laser-beam quality from a conduction-cooled system. Another innovation is the use of passive Q-switches, Cr4+: YAG or F2-: LiF saturable absorbers that will greatly improve laser reliability and also eliminate the size and weight associated with active Q-switching. A key factor of our design is quasi-CW pumping with a variable duty cycle, which will not only reduce power consumption but will allow for developing a variable repetition rate source (as high as a 1 kHz), thereby reducing the data acquisition time.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA applications are in systems requiring compact, efficient, reliable, moderate-energy, nanosecond-pulsed lasers. For planetary exploration, these applications are in LIBS systems used for planetary surface characterization and in lidar systems for atmospheric measurements of aerosol concentrations and distributions, as well as precision ranging for planetary surface mapping from satellites and other spacecraft. The laser we propose to develop is compact, efficient, rugged and reliable, making it ideal for planetary missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Commercial applications are in portable LIBS systems to replace the current bulky, inefficient and less reliable lamp-pumped lasers now employed. LIBS, besides having numerous scientific applications in materials characterization, can also be used in industrial applications for process control through monitoring of exhaust streams, analysis of pharmaceuticals, profiling of metals, composition determinations of minerals in mining and detection of contamination in the environment.

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
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19