NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 O1.06-9563
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Long Range Optical Telecommunications
PROPOSAL TITLE: High-bandwidth photon-counting detectors with enhanced near-infrared response

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
aPeak, Inc.
63 Albert Road
Newton, MA 02466 - 1302
(617) 964-1709

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stefan Vasile
63 Albert Road
Newton, MA 02466 - 1302
(617) 964-1788

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4 to 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Laser optical communications offer the potential to dramatically increase the link bandwidth and decrease the emitter power in long-range space communications. Newest system designs require photon-counting arrays operated at high detection efficiency, tens of picoseconds temporal resolution, and capability to handle high detection rates at the wavelength of the laser beam.
We propose to develop a novel photon-counting detector array in near infrared, operated with moderate cooling, high-detection efficiency, high saturation counting rate, and capable of high timing resolution. In Phase I, we will investigate methods to integrate photon absorption enhancement techniques into the photon detector process flow and demonstrate the elements of the technology yielding photon-counting detector arrays with high detection efficiency at 1064 nm, high bandwidth and saturation-counting rate. In Phase II, we will integrate the new process flow with readout electronics into compact photon-counting arrays using hybrid and monolithic integration technologies. Detector and readout circuit design will be improved to meet the detection efficiency, noise, timing resolution, and linearity requirements.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The novel photon counting array has the advantage of using high-volume manufacturing processing to yield compact, reliable detectors for space communications. These arrays will find application in free-space optical communications, space-ground optical links, detection or imaging in media with high turbidity, interferometry, mapping, robotic vision, very high-resolution 3-D imaging, hyper-spectral imaging, and space docking.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to long-range optical communications, larger arrays could be fabricated for single-photon imaging in the infrared and visible spectra with applications to security cameras, imaging of non-cooperative targets, single-molecule detection, integration into micro fluidic devices, biochips for biomedical applications, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, underwater imaging to many attenuation depths, as well as laser Doppler imaging and optical tomography in medical applications and cancer research. Due to their extremely short integration time, infrared photon-counting arrays could find applications in high-speed imaging.

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.

Optical & Photonic Materials
Particle and Fields
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56