NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 S1.08-9245
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In Situ Airborne, Surface, and Submersible Instruments for Earth Science
PROPOSAL TITLE: Robust optical carbon dioxide isotope analyzer

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)
Steve Massick
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)
Isotopic analysis of carbon dioxide is an important tool for characterization of the exchange and transformation of carbon between the biosphere and the atmosphere. These measurements require highly accurate and precise instruments that are capable of providing isotopic abundances to discriminate between man-made and natural carbon sources. Laser-based isotopic measurements offer the Earth Science research community an opportunity to gather critical information on the generation and fate of carbon dioxide. Improvements to existing technology are needed for carbon isotope measurements to be made with minimal labor, for long periods, in remote areas and harsh conditions. The proposed Phase I project extends the application of well established near infrared laser and detector technology that is proven in trace gas field measurements towards the development of an automated isotopic carbon dioxide sensor that can be deployed in balloon-based systems, remotely operated robotic aircraft, or in harsh conditions such as volcanic fumaroles.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Field deployable instrumentation is paramount to accurate global carbon models. 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 δ13CO2 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 carbon dioxide isotope ratios can help discriminate anthropogenic from biogenic CO2 sources on a global and local scale.
The technologies developed from this proposal extend beyond δ13CO2 for atmospheric CO2 measurements. The methodology of using the large current tuning range of VCSELs to access isotopic lines of nearly identical ground state energies can be investigated and applied to various other isotopic species of interest to NASA.

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 δ13CO2 instrumentation to use in support of or as the basis of their research.
Like NASA, the atmospheric research communities have interest in other isotopic measurement instrumentation to measure δ18O for O2, CO2 and N2O as well as δ13C measurements on methane. 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)
Lasers (Measuring/Sensing)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43