NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 S1.11-8851
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lunar Science Instruments and Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Electro-Optic Tunable Laser Sensor

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
ADVR, Inc.
2310 University Way, Building 1
Bozeman, MT 59715 - 6504
(406) 522-0388

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Tony Roberts
2310 University Way, Building #1-1
Bozeman, MT 59715 - 6504
(406) 522-0388

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop a compact, rugged, rapidly and widely tunable laser based on a quantum cascade diode laser at mid-infrared wavelengths. The key innovation in this effort is the use of an engineered electro-optic tuning element in an external cavity laser to provide control of the laser wavelength through an applied voltage. AdvR has previously demonstrated the feasibility of large tuning range matching that of mechanically tuned lasers, yet also offering low cost, smaller size, robustness, portability, and tuning speed that is faster by six orders of magnitude. The Phase I effort will investigate adapting the external cavity tuning techniques to quantum cascade lasers to generate tunable wavelengths for mid-infrared spectroscopy.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Current external cavity lasers with large wavelength range use mechanical tuning methods that are highly sensitive to shock, vibration, and temperature. The proposed innovation will enable a tunable external cavity laser that is compact and rugged enough for reliable deployment and remote operation on the lunar surface. A quantum cascade laser used as the gain medium will provide output wavelengths in the mid-infrared. Wide wavelength tunability in the 34 µm (and ultimately 310 µm) range will enable mid-IR spectroscopy with part-per-billion sensitivity for identification of elements and isotopes in evolved gases.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Tunable lasers are essential to spectroscopy, biomedical imaging, sensing, communications, and research. Making the proposed device commercially available will advance the state of the art in these areas by providing a smaller, cheaper laser with faster tuning that can be used in extreme environments. Microimaging systems for biology, medical, and clinical applications will improve when size and cost reductions allow replacement of fixed wavelength sources with widely tunable lasers. High speed tunability will enable new and expanded microwave and millimeter-wave applications in antenna remoting, beamforming networks for array antennas, feed networks for wireless communications, photonic processing of microwave signals, cable television signal distribution, sensor systems, and instrumentation. A lightweight, rugged laser scanning absorption peaks will enable transportable sensors for identification of chemicals such as airborne pollutants, pipeline leaks, and contraband.

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.

Biomolecular Sensors
Optical & Photonic Materials

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56