NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 S1.05-9730
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Detector Technologies for UV, X-Ray, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Instruments
PROPOSAL TITLE: Functionalized nano-film Microchannel Plate: A Single High Aspect Ratio Device for High Resolution, Low Noise Astronomical Imaging

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Arradiance, Inc.
142 North Road
SUDBURY, MA 01776 - 1122
(978) 369-8291

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Neal T Sullivan
142 North Road
Sudbury, MA 01776 - 1122
(800) 659-2970 Extension :003

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The proposed innovation is to apply proven nano-film technology to enable Microchannel plate (MCP) devices to be manufactured on a range of insulating substrates and devices which possess sufficiently high gain and low ion feedback to replace chevron stacks in current NASA detector technologies. Commercial MCP devices have many desirable properties, such as sensitivity to small amounts of light and excellent position and timing resolution. MCP production is a mature technology, based largely on techniques and materials developed in the 1970's, and is limited to small area devices. Limitations due to the bulk glass manufacturing technology adversely impact many applications and impair manufacturability. For example, heavy metal impurities contained within the bulk glass of the MCP limit the achievable dark noise in low signal detection. In MCP manufacturing, the requisite batch processing restricts flexibility to tailor individual device or small batch performance to specific applications and can often result in poor MCP yield due to variations in composition and poor process control. In this proposal, we will utilize atomic layer deposition (ALD) of nanometer thin films which has been proven to replicate and improve the component functions of secondary electron emission (SEE) and conductivity on non-traditional glass substrates, to investigate the high gain and low ion feedback capabilities of this technology. We estimate that the technology stands at TRL 2 at the and expect to be at 4 at end of the Phase 1 contract.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The potential impacts for MCP technology include: substrate independence, ability to manufacture large area detectors, single event detection in a single MCP (no chevron required), greatly improved resolution and direct deposition of opaque photocathodes onto high temperature substrates. The ability of this technology to directly impact NASA missions is enormous. These innovations will contribute significantly to an improvement in resolution, a simplification of the optics required and provide the potential to expand the size of the detector. By significantly improving the functionality and capability of MCPs, it will be possible to deploy a single plate configuration capable of low noise, high resolution counting and imaging that could surpass existing detector performance benchmarks. With Arradiance's functional nano-film MCP technology, it will be possible to significantly reduce the size, mass, power and cost of detection so that instruments can be flown on smaller, more affordable spacecraft with potential benefits for science measurement capabilities so that NASA development programs can meet multiple mission needs and make the best use of limited resources.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Major market opportunities for thin-film functionalized, alternative substrate MCPs include Special Nuclear Material detection at ports and shipboard, large area photon and particle detection, enhancements over traditional MCPs, Channel Electron Multipliers, and Photomultiplier tubes in analytical applications and military and commercial Night Vision. Other commercial applications include Mass spectrometry, Photoionization, Electron microscopy, Surface physics, UV and VUV imaging, Astronomy, Space telescopes, Fusion research, Synchrotron Radiation, Nuclear physics, Field ion microscopy, Low temperature physics, Neutron Detectors, Neutron Radiography and Tomography, Scanning Near field Microscopy, Accelerators , Plasma Physics, Cluster research, Fluorescent detection and Trace analysis. Large government contractors such as SAIC and Rapiscan have expressed support for the development of MCP-based direct fast neutron detectors and large area MCP-PMTs for advanced radiation detectors, X-ray and gamma ray imaging systems, and low light level imaging systems. In addition, government national laboratories, such as Argonne National Labs, are supporting alternatives to the photomultiplier tube for photon detection in large astroparticle experiments such as gamma-ray and neutrino astronomy and direct dark matter detectors to improve performance and reduce cost.

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.

Large Antennas and Telescopes
Optical & Photonic Materials
Particle and Fields
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors

Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14