NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 06-2 S2.01-8992
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Astrobiology and Atmospheric Instruments for Planetary Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE: Miniature X-ray Source for Planetary Exploration Instruments

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Microwave Power Technology
2551 Casey Avenue Suite A
Mountain View, CA 94043 - 1135
(650) 567-0081

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert Espinosa
1280 Theresa Avenue
Campbell, CA 95008 - 6833
(408) 379-5335

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The objective of the proposed work is to develop a rugged, low power, passively cooled X-Ray source that is compatible with miniaturized XRD systems. The XRD instruments would be used for in situ measurements on planetary surfaces. This X-ray source will integrate an X-ray emitting vacuum tube and both low and high-voltage power supplies into a compact and lightweight unit. This X-ray source will enable further miniaturized X-ray instruments to be deployed for surface and subsurface exploration of the solar system. The objectives will be achieved with an X-ray source that combines the advantage of easy thermal management and simple control electronics. The concept relies on the use of state-of-the-art ceramic materials that combines very good electrical insulation properties with good thermal conductivity. This source will allow using the grounded-cathode geometry for simple and compact electronics, and rely on the heat-sinking properties of the electrical insulator for heat dissipation to ground. The most promising material for this application is Aluminum Nitride (AlN). Objective specifications for the source to be developed are as follows: Accelerating Voltage (25 kV), Electron Beam Current (200 uAmps), X-ray Spot Size (50 microns), X-ray Tube Dimensions (65 mm x 25 mm,lxd)

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There is a growing market for portable X-ray instruments in addition to the hand held XRF instruments that are available today. Examples are on site identification compounds in industrial spills, suspect materials and contaminated environments. The miniature X-ray source can be a key component in monitoring sensors for industrial processes. Other potential applications for portable XRD systems, like the X-ray source proposed here, could serve other applications where small size microfocus X-ray sources are required such as X-ray absorption imaging or micro-fluorescence analysis. We are currently developing XRD instruments for authentication of art works and in field geological analysis.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Future NASA missions will require miniaturized light weight X-ray sources compatible with the deployment of XRD and other X-ray instruments in small landers and rovers with limited payload capabilities, such as Scout missions. The X-ray source designed in Phase 1 enables miniaturized instrumentation for in-situ definitive chemical and mineralogy analysis of surface materials. In-situ analytical X-ray instruments are critical tools for the geochemical and astrobiological investigation of surface planetary material. Spectroscopic instruments can make use of radioactive excitation sources. X-ray diffraction requires a bright and collimated beam that only electrical sources can produce. XRD instruments provide definitive analysis and together with other instruments are ideally suited for planetary exploration. Future surface exploration missions could benefit from the technologies being developed in this proposal including in situ analysis of the Moon, Mars or Venus.

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.

Manned-Manuvering Units
Portable Data Acquisition or Analysis Tools

Form Generated on 08-02-07 14:39