NASA STTR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 T4.04-9856
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Performance Ka-band Phase Shifters for Space Telecommunications

NAME: MEMtronics Corporation NAME: Lehigh University
STREET: 3000 Custer Road Suite 270-400 STREET: 5 East Packer Avenue
CITY: Plano CITY: Bethlehem
STATE/ZIP: TX  75075 - 4427 STATE/ZIP: PA  18015 - 3181
PHONE: (214) 552-7055 PHONE: (610) 758-5104

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Chuck Goldsmith
3000 Custer Road Suite 270-400
Plano, TX 75075 - 4427
(214) 552-7055

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3 to 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We propose a novel MEMS-based digital phase shifter targeted for Ka-band operation, but scalable down to X-band and up to W-band. This novel phase shifter will incorporate MEMtronics' state-of-the-art microencapsulated, capacitive MEMS switches to control phase. The envisioned phase shifter behaves much like a switched-line phase shifter with broadband matched impedance, but without sacrificing size normally needed to accommodate multiple signal paths. Many MEMS-based phase shifters have been created with good results utilizing a loaded line approach. While this technique works well for smaller bits, larger bits suffer from narrow bandwidths and a poor impedance match in one or both states. Additionally, cascading multiple bits results in a relatively long multi-bit phase shifter. As insertion loss is dominated by conductor loss, these long multi-bit phase shifters become rather lossy reducing advantages that MEMS-based phase shifters may offer. This proposed project seeks to overcome these limitations by maximize phase shift per unit length, while increasing bandwidth, to arrive at a low-loss Ka-band phase shifter with significant performance and size improvements over currently available technologies.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Low-loss, low-power microwave and millimeter-wave switching devices are very important in the development of small, lightweight, low-power-consumption electronically steerable antennas. Utilization of these MEMS-based phase shifters enable ultra-small, lightweight, and low-power deep-space transceivers, transponders, and sensors. This technology is applicable over a wide range of frequencies, from 2 GHz up to 100 GHz. Typical applications for these phase shifters are in phased array antennas for multi-platform data relays, micropower sensor pod communications, and high-rate satellite-satellite communications in support of sensor webs. Use in large aperture electronically steerable antennas benefits the development of deep-space communications and multi-spacecraft/ground data links. This technology may also prove advantageous for small-aperture, lightweight, low-power Ka-band antennas for near-earth orbit communications such as in lunar communications between fixed and mobile/roaming vehicles.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This MEMS technology supports upcoming requirements for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (such as the Multi Function RF System being developed by Raytheon) as well as the Navy's Horizon Extension Surveillance Radar program. This technology is a key development which will impact upcoming low-cost, phased antenna array programs expected to be deployed in the 2009-2010 time-frame. Large defense contractors such as Raytheon have interest in MEMS insertion opportunities in their upcoming systems.

Other applications for MEMS phase shifters within the commercial sector include mobile TV/Internet receiving antennas for SUVs, vans, boats, and automobiles, and automotive radar antennas at 77 GHz for long-range radar sensing used in adaptive cruise control (ACC) and collision avoidance systems.

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.

Large Antennas and Telescopes
Telemetry, Tracking and Control

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:52