NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-2 S1.05-9117
PHASE 1 CONTRACT NUMBER: NNX11CE81P
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Detector Technologies for UV, X-Ray, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Instruments
PROPOSAL TITLE: Large-Area, UV-Optimized, Back-Illuminated Silicon Photomultiplier Arrays

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Voxtel, Inc.
15985 Northwest Schendel Avenue, Suite 200
Beaverton, OR 97006 - 6703
(971) 223-5646

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Vinit Dhulla
vinit@voxtel-inc.com
15985 NW Schendel Avenue
Beaverton, OR 97006 - 6104
(971) 223-5646

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Large-area (3m2), UV-sensitive focal plane arrays are needed for observation of air showers from ultra-high energy cosmic rays (JEM-EUSO) as well as for visible-wavelength spectrographic and photometric instruments planned for future telescopes (OWL). Existing photocathode-based technologies for visible and UV instruments lack sensitivity, are bulky, and have limited reliability. Solid-state silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) are efficient, light, and reliable, but the front-illuminated designs demonstrated to date have poor UV response, limited sensitive area and optical fill-factor.

To solve the above problems, a large-area, back-illuminated silicon photomultiplier (BaSiPM) array technology has been developed. The BaSiPM technology will integrate SiPM pixel arrays, fabricated on domestic, large volume commercial CMOS fab, with wafer-scale thinning. Short-wavelength light is absorbed near the surface of a silicon detector, and moving the optical entry surface to the back side of the wafer enhances UV response by ensuring that all photo-carriers are generated on the correct side of the junction for efficient avalanche multiplication. Placing the optical entry surface on the back of the wafer also improves the optical fill since it is no longer be necessary to shine light through the quench resistor network on the front surface of the detector. Lastly, back-thinning the detector wafer significantly reduces the mass per unit area of the focal plane array.

Voxtel has successfully demonstrated the ability to perform wafer-scale back thinning fabrication for superior UV sensitivity. Three SiPM architectures (25 variations) have been characterized and studied in detail and their performance compared with commercially available SiPMs. The design of a large format focal plane design, including a mechanical model, mounting, and alignment will be developed using the proposed technology.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Orbiting Wide-angle Light-collectors (OWL): OWL is an Earth-orbiting system to study air showers initiated by >1E19 eV particles.

Focal Plane for Ring Imaging Cherenkov Detection (RICH): RICH is a particle detector that can determine the velocity, v, of a charged particle.
Extreme Universe Space Observatory (EUSO): observes the brief flashes of light in the earth's atmosphere caused by particles arriving from deep space.

Scintillation Detection: NASA does a lot of work with scintillators, which needs photon detectors in the 390-420nm range.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
- Nuclear weapons antiproliferation and treaty verifi cation
- High-energy physics and nuclear physics experiments
- Time-correlated single-photon spectroscopy instrumentation
- LIDAR/LADAR
- Medical: PET, DNA-sequencing, Time-Correlated Single Photon Counting (TCSPC)

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.)
3D Imaging
Ad-Hoc Networks (see also Sensors)
Detectors (see also Sensors)
Infrared
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)
Ranging/Tracking
Visible


Form Generated on 12-15-11 17:36