NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S1.09-8071
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Sensors and Sensor Systems for Planetary Science
PROPOSAL TITLE: Absolute Wavelength Control of Lasers for Active Sensing in Space

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Vescent Photonics, Inc.
4865 E. 41st Avenue
Denver, CO 80216 - 4401
(303) 296-6766

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Sara R Bickman
4865 E. 41st Ave.
Denver, CO 80216 - 4401
(303) 296-6766

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We propose to develop compact absolute wavelength references to weak molecular transitions, which is a challenge characteristic to space-based active sensing. The ASCENDS mission (Active Sensing of CO2 over Nights, Days, and Seasons) will be the first satellite-based mission employing precision laser spectroscopy for active sensing of molecules in space. Although ASCENDS will be first, it is expected that future NASA missions for planetary sensing or Venture class missions will also use active sensing. In Phase I, Vescent will demonstrate the technology to lock seed lasers to weak molecular transitions in a compact form factor. The final Phase II deliverable will be a complete laser system including a master laser and a slave laser locked to the master laser with a tunable frequency offset. The system will be designed so the slave laser can be used to tune across an O2 transition in a compact instrument designed for flight testing. The phase I effort will bring the technology readiness level to TRL 4. In Phase II we will work with NASA to bring the technology to TRL 6 with fully packaged prototypes and environmental testing.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA has a long history using spectroscopic probes for space-based Earth science and extraterrestrial missions. These past missions have not been tunable laser based because the tunable laser locking and control technology has been immature. This project will significantly increase the maturity and availability of precision laser frequency locking and control systems, which will lower the barrier for use in a wide array of future NASA missions. In addition to ASCENDS, these include future Venture Class UAV missions for methane, and future planetary science missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Frequency locking is essential for nearly all spectroscopic measurements. This technology is particularly well suited to the complex lasers systems needed in the field of cold-atom sensing, including atomic clocks, cold-atom inertial sensors, ultra-cold plasmas, and atomic magnetometers and gravimeters.

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.)
Chemical/Environmental (see also Biological Health/Life Support)
Detectors (see also Sensors)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12