NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 S1.09-9227
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Sensors and Sensor Systems for Planetary Science
PROPOSAL TITLE: Deep UV Semiconductor Sourcess for Advanced Planetary Science Instruments

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Photon Systems
15112 Industrial Park St.
Covina, CA 91722 - 3417
(626) 967-6431

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
William Hug
15112 Industrial Park St.
Covina, CA 91722 - 3417
(626) 967-6431

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This proposal addresses the need for miniature deep UV light sources that operate at very low ambient temperatures without heating or temperature regulation for use in advanced in situ planetary science instruments involved in the reagent-less detection and identification of trace amounts of organic, inorganic, and biogenic materials. The proposed sources are aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN) semiconductor lasers and light emitting devices emitting between 210 nm to 250 nm, a spectral range which has been demonstrated to provide higher detection sensitivity and chemical differentiability than sources emitting at longer wavelengths. Instrument applications include non-contact, robot-arm or body mounted, reagentless chemical imaging instruments and detectors for analysis of chemical extractions from soil, rock, or ice employing non-contact, non-destructive native fluorescence and/or resonance Raman spectroscopic methods.
The proposed semiconductor source approach avoids the problems that continue to limit emission wavelengths of semiconductor lasers to wavelengths above 340 nm. Using free electron injection we have demonstrated internal quantum efficiencies over 100 times higher than reported elsewhere. It is the goal of this program to demonstrate deep UV laser emission from a semiconductor device less than 250 nm using the proposed approach. This will lead to miniature, high efficiency, TRL 4 devices.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The new UV sources developed here can be used for local chemical mapping and water detection on a variety of planetary bodies of interest to NASA including Europa, Titan, Enceladus, the lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin, and cometary and asteroid landers. Furthermore, the Mars Exploration Program is currently planning for a mid-size (MER-like) Mars rover in ~2016. This development is strongly aligned with the goals of the Decadal Survey and MEPAG goals for Mars . NASA mission applications include NASA lander missions such as New Frontiers, Mars exploration, Europa, Titan, etc. The development of these deep UV sources will enable limits of detection for trace levels of organic, inorganic, and bioigenic chemicals on soil, rock, or ice substrates that are many orders of magnitude lower than with present visible and near IR methods of detection.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The deep UV semiconductor laser being developed here will enable a revolutionary reduction in size, weight and power consumption for UV resonance Raman and laser induced native fluorescence instruments for the detection and classification of biological, organic, and inorganic materials on surfaces and in liquids. There is a broad existing market need for deep UV sources that are small and efficient. The largest of these markets is likely in optical memory systems where the aerial data density is inversely proportional to the square of the source emission wavelength. However, other markets, while potentially smaller in quantity of demand, may have greater overall commercial impact, being the enabling technology for a wide array of analytical instruments.
These instruments include biotechnology instruments used in clinical diagnostics, pharmaceutical research and product testing; environmental monitoring such as water, air and food quality; in semiconductor development and processing, and a myriad of other applications where small spot sizes or photon-energy-specific excitation is needed or enabling.

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.

Air Revitalization and Conditioning
Biomedical and Life Support
Biomolecular Sensors
Portable Data Acquisition or Analysis Tools
Sterilization/Pathogen and Microbial Control

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56