NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Lunar Polar Resource Prospecting and Collection
PROPOSAL TITLE:Selective Photoinitiated Electrophoretic Separator

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Physical Optics Corporation
20600 Gramercy Place, Bldg 100
Torrance, CA 90501-1821
(310) 320-3088

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kang-Bin    Chua, Ph.D
20600 Gramercy Place, Bldg 100
Torrance, CA  90501-1821
(310) 320-3088

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
To address NASA Johnson Space Center needs for gas separation and collection technology for lunar in-situ resource utilization, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Selective Photoinitiated Electrophoretic Separator (SPIES) System, based on selective photoionization and electrophoresis. This approach incorporates a novel system design for selective photoionization for electrophoresis of selected gases, for electrophoretic processing, to meet the NASA requirement for equipment with low launch mass to separate hydrogen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, helium, water, ammonia, and methane. The SPIES system launch weight and energy consumption will be 33% of those of the current distilling/purification systems because it eliminates the requirements for consumables and downstream distillation equipment. While requiring minimal system maintenance, this system will operate without consumables, and will be easily reconfigurable for different ISRU scenarios. In Phase I POC will establish the feasibility of the SPIES system by assembling a proof-of-concept prototype and demonstrating separation of a simulated lunar volatile, reducing development risk in Phase II. In Phase II POC plans to optimize the SPIES system design and assemble an advanced system prototype that can perform multiple gas separation tasks, enabling NASA to selectively remove and purify a range of gas streams in lunar solar resource prospecting.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
POC expects substantial NASA opportunities for the SPIES system for selective removal/purification of a wide range of gas streams, including hydrogen, helium, oxygen, ammonia, nitrogen, and water vapor. It will be particularly beneficial in space, on the moon, Mars, and beyond because of its universality, and will replace a large number of diverse individual modules for distillation of gases. At the same time its only consumables are long-lasting excimer lamps (if solar collectors are not used).

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Commercial applications of the SPIES system technology are even broader. For example, this technology can address the need for energy-efficient production of industrial gases such as production of oxygen at a cost that is significantly lower than that of current energy-intensive processes. Another example is the direct production of hydrogen for fuel cells.

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.

In-situ Resource Utilization

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19