NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 O1.07-8443
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Long Range Space RF Telecommunications
PROPOSAL TITLE: 3D Microfabricated Low Loss Reconfigurable Components

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nuvotronics, LLC
3155 State Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060 - 6604
(540) 552-4610

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jean Marc Rollin
3155 State Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060 - 6604
(540) 552-4610

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Typical communication satellites use traditional waveguide front-end architectures due to excellent electrical performance and high reliability. However, these systems are extremely massive and use large volume mostly due to the low-insertion loss waveguide. Replacement of the waveguide components by microfabricated parts without substantially affecting the electrical performance can lead to a breakthrough in wireless communications.

The overall goal of the proposed SBIR project is to develop low-cost, reliable, miniaturized RF MEMS switch components suitable for a variety of communication subsystems. Two approaches will be investigated. The first approach will be looking at monolithically integrating RF MEMS switches within the PolyStrataTM technology, developed at Nuvotronics in Blacksburg, VA as part of the DARPA 3DMERFS program. This approach should enable disruptive low-loss and high-Q RF components from S-band up to W-band. The second approach will rely on state of the art known good RF switches to be assembled on the low loss PolyStrata backplane. This second approach will provide lower loss, higher density and higher power handling than the current RF MEMS components. The proposed technology can be applied to multiple operating frequencies at a minimum cost due to the batch capability of the PolyStrata process.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA has identified several application needs for the proposed innovations relating to Long-range RF Telecommunications. Current X-band antennas used have the disadvantage of being limited (large) in size and mass as well as data rate (low). Ability to increase the frequency to Ka-band will provide available spectrum, smaller payload, and higher data rate. Our proposed innovation will deliver switch components to the desired higher frequencies, thus achieving some of the desired benefits. Nuvotronics is proposing in this SBIR to leverage the PolyStrata technology to create solutions for both digital and analog phase shifting as well as for tunable filters at from KA to W-band. Therefore, our proposed innovation will deliver switch components to the desired higher frequencies, thus achieving some of the desired benefits.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Markets for analog and digital phase shifters include Microwave Solid-State Power Amplifiers, SSPAs for high-power TWT replacements also typically require phase-shifters as used in microwave transmitters and radar systems. A significant market is electronically scanned antennas which have broad applicability for both commercial and military applications. ESA markets include advanced military radars, cellular base stations, satellite communications, and automotive anti-collision radar. Unique to our approach is the potential to obtain both digital as well as analog operation. This can allow one product to meet requirements for low-cost and simple digital beam forming networks where basic several bit operation is needed as well as for high-resolution analog applications where the control and feedback circuitry for the analog shifting is desired.

Our proposed tunable filters are applicable for both microwave and mobile communications receivers for band and frequency selection, for sensors and analytical tools, and for test and measurement equipment.

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.


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