NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S1.08-9325
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Airborne, Surface, and Submersible Instruments for Earth Science
PROPOSAL TITLE: High-precision instrumentation for CO2 isotope ratio measurements

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco Street, Suite E-11
Santa Fe, NM 87505 - 3993
(505) 984-1322

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Anthony Gomez
1570 Pacheco Street, Suite E-11
Santa Fe, NM 87505 - 3993
(505) 984-1322

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Knowing atmospheric 13CO2/12CO2 ratios precisely is important to understanding biogenic and anthroprogenic sources and sinks for carbon. Currently available field deployable instrumentation have unfavourable attributes such as high power requirements, are extremely expensive, are too large, are not proven or designed to run continuously or unattended for extended periods, and/or are unable to properly compensate for nature pressure, temperature and moisture variations.
Southwest Sciences proposes to develop a high precision isotopic carbon dioxide measurement system that nullifies interferences from pressure, temperature and moisture, and that has characteristics compatible with field deployable instrumentation. This instrument would be fully autonomous, requires no consumable and would not need periodic maintenance. In Phase 1, we will build a simplified single-pass spectrometer and demonstrate the ultimate achievable precision under ideal conditions, operating parameters, and Allan variance measurements. In Phase 2, we will leverage Southwest Science's extensive experience with multi-pass cells and incorporate additional temperature and pressure compensation techniques for operation under non-ideal conditions. At the end of Phase 1, we expect this instrument to be at TRL-4.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Successful development of a field-deployable CO2 isotope spectrometer will bolster NASA's capabilities in their Global Climate Change program. Although a majority of NASA's earth based measurement platforms are satellites, terrestrial measurement systems both validate remote measurements as well as fill in the gaps of understanding.
Information on carbon sources and sinks as well as fluxes of carbon that arise from precision (13)C measurements that this proposal will offer, can also be incorporated with the direct public service from NASA's Earth Observatory program. NASA's current CO2 mappings are not specific to isotopic distributions. Widespread measurements of (13)C can help discriminate anthropogenic from biogenic CO2 sources on a global and local scale.
The technologies developed from this proposal extend beyond (13)C for CO2 measurements. The topology of the proposed system can be applied to various other isotopic species of interest to NASA. Isotopic measurements of (18)O for O2, CO2 and N2O as well as (13)C measurements on methane can be made with instruments developed from this platform. The technology could also be applied to measurements of isotope ratios in planetary atmospheres (e.g. Venus, Mars and Titan). Likewise, the system is appropriate for multiple gas correlation measurements while only using a single instrument.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Besides NASA, there are widespread needs in the public research sector for atmospheric species monitoring. With global warming at the forefront of environmental concerns, both academic and research institutions need reliable and affordable isotopic CO2 instrumentation to use in support of or as the basis of their research.
Like NASA, the atmospheric research communities have interest in isotopic measurement instrumentation which can be developed from technology described in this proposal. Gases which could be measured include (18)O for O2, CO2 and N2O as well as (13)C measurements on methane. Gas correlation instrumentation can also be developed from the topology of this proposal. These communities would include institutions such as NCAR, NOAA, universities, and national labs.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)
Analytical Methods
Chemical/Environmental (see also Biological Health/Life Support)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12