NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 O1.03-9012
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Reconfigurable/Reprogrammable Communication Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low Phase Noise Universal Microwave Oscillator for Analog and Digital Devices

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
VIDA Products
3553 Westwind Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403 - 8256
(707) 541-7000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ronald Parrott
3553 Westwind Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403 - 8256
(707) 541-7000

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 2 to 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
An inherently rugged Universal Oscillator (UO) is needed to enable a superior class of configurable communications for NASA applications. The requirements are a low phase noise RF output concurrently with a rugged, reliable, small, power efficient, and frequency tuning ability. VIDA Products has developed technology that will ultimately enable an integrated circuit YIG oscillator with high Q resonators and low power consumption that fills these requirements. The high Q YIG resonators are made possible by quantum electron spin precession and are essentially lossless. In general, a resonator is realized by a YIG sphere RF magnetic fields coupling to the oscillator circuit structure. A bias magnetic field on the spheres at a right angle to the coupling field vector sets the frequency of operation. It is a linear function of exactly 2.8 MHz per Gauss. Its equivalent electrical circuit is composed of circuit elements unrealizable by finite components that vary over frequency so the filter bandwidth does not change with tuned frequency. Thus the Q increases with frequency since a definition of Q is the tuned frequency divided by the bandwidth. For oscillators using these resonators the phase noise is excellent and continues to perform as the oscillation frequency increases. The Resonant Ring Oscillator topology is easily realizable using MMIC technology to reduce a YIG based oscillator to a single IC with the ability to produce external fields of the correct vectors and path losses. To make use of this phenomenon, a proprietary circuit utilizing leakage shielding and frequency locking will control the magnetic bias field and be integrated in the UO IC. The result will be a Universal Oscillator that can be produced to operate at any frequency between 3 and 30 GHz at cost equivalent to current VCO technology but with 30 to 40 dBc improvement in phase noise performance. Completing the development of this technology now will save immeasurable resources.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The Universal Oscillator will invaluable in communications and sensors such as ADC. It can be used for both fixed frequency clock oscillators and multi-octave tunable receivers and transmit exciters. This capability has never existed before and will make profound changes in systems design. When used to clock the latest ADC developments, direct digital radios operating above 15 GHz will be possible. Sensor accuracy will provide the tools for the next generation of earth atmospheric monitoring satellites to provide exact information to gain control of Global Warming. The versatility of the Universal Oscillator will provide redundancy for deep space application since several clocks can be reconfigured as necessary for the task at hand. High-speed computers will also more reliable when utilizing low jitter clocks. The recent advances in SiGe bipolar transistor frequency dividers can be used with GHz clocks to generate most of the lower frequencies improving phase noise by 6 dB per octave of division.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The Universal Oscillator is extremely scalable in production and can be made in quantities and for cost equivalent to the current cell phones. The improved phase noise performance has potential to revolutionize WiMax of the future in that the number of users in a zone does not impact the data speed. The application of cognitive radios is waiting for the existence of hardware to permit reconfiguration of the radio links and the Universal Oscillator is able to supply that "missing piece" of the puzzle. Robotics needs sensors that are not jammed by neighboring signals from other nearby source, for example other robots. The low phase noise means that adjacent channels can be clean of interfering signals. This also has application in vehicular radar where the capability must not be reduced with wide spread implementation.

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.

Airport Infrastructure and Safety
Architectures and Networks
Attitude Determination and Control
Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Autonomous Reasoning/Artificial Intelligence
Biomolecular Sensors
Computer System Architectures
Data Acquisition and End-to-End-Management
Data Input/Output Devices
General Public Outreach
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Human-Robotic Interfaces
Integrated Robotic Concepts and Systems
Manned-Maneuvering Units
On-Board Computing and Data Management
Pilot Support Systems
Portable Data Acquisition or Analysis Tools
Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors
Spaceport Infrastructure and Safety
Telemetry, Tracking and Control
Ultra-High Density/Low Power

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56