NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Optical Devices for Starlight Detection and Wavefront Analysis
PROPOSAL TITLE:Beam Combination for Sparse Aperture Telescopes

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Seabrook Engineering
9310 Dubarry Ave
Seabrook , MD 20706-3108
(301) 459-3375

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David   Mozurkewich
9310 Dubarry Ave
Seabrook , MD  20706-3108
(301) 459-3375

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The Stellar Imager, an ultraviolet, sparse-aperture telescope, was one of the fifteen Vision Missions chosen for a study completed last year. Stellar Imager will enable very high angular resolution images of stellar surfaces. The baselined design is a Fizeau beam combiner with 20 to 30 separated (free-flying) elements.

This proposal is for funding to develop and test an alternative beam combiner design for the Stellar Imager Mission. We designate this new combiner the Spatial Frequency Remapper (SFR). In the SFR, the large field-of-view of the Fizeau design is sacrificed in favor of simultaneous observations at multiple wavelengths. Also, depending on the details of the design of the rest of the telescope, the SFR should either produce better images or relax the very tight stability requirements. Since the large field of view of the Fizeau combiner is not needed for the mission, the SFR, if it works, is clearly the better design; it's only expense is the addition of one or perhaps two extra reflections, needed to incorporate the spectral dispersion.

The work that will be accomplished, including Phase 2, will include A) completing the analysis of the design as it pertains to Stellar Imager, B) performing a laboratory test at longer wavelengths to verify the soundness of that design and C) developing a more rigorous test of its imaging capabilities to be performed on a large, ground-based telescope. This final item will be the main component of the commercialization plan.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The direct application of the Spatial Frequency Remapper (SFR) is to the Stellar Imager Mission where it significantly improves the capabilities of that mission by providing simultaneous observations at multiple wavelengths. But there are other more-near-term applications of the SFR. If it is interfaced to a full aperture telescope through a coherent fiber bundle, the SFR becomes a powerful wavefront sensor. Combining this wavefront-sensing with its imaging capabilities, the SFR may be the ideal sensor for a high-dynamic range coronagraph such as that once needed for the TPF-C.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
On ground-based telescopes, aperture masking is the only technique that has produced repeatable, high dynamic range images of complex surces at the diffraction limit of the telescope. The SFR, interfaced to the telescope with a coherent fiber bundle, is a cadillac aperture masking system; it overcomes the sensitivity limitation of that technique by utilizing the entire telescope aperture. This should give it a sensitivity approaching that of a standard camera with a similar integration time. With its built-in wavefront sensing, it is immune to the artifacts that limit the combination of a simple camera with an adaptive optics system.

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.


Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19