NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 H14.01-9736
SUBTOPIC TITLE: International Space Station (ISS) Utilization
PROPOSAL TITLE: Electrical Microgravity Research in Colloidal Development Platform

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Techshot, Inc.
7200 Highway 150
Greenville, IN 47124 - 9515
(812) 923-9591

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Michael A. Kurk
7200 Highway 150
Greenville, IN 47124 - 9515
(812) 923-9591 Extension :224

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Mark S. Deuser
7200 Highway 150
Greenville, IN 47124 - 9515
(812) 923-9591 Extension :247

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
International Space Station (ISS) Utilization is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The proposed innovation is a platform upon which to perform high voltage Electrical microGravity Research In colloidal Development (E-GRID). This platform will facilitate safe experimentation in space with colloidal samples at high voltages. E-GRID will be comprised of three components: the experiment module, which houses the colloidal sample and electrodes; the high voltage safety tether, which provides three levels of safety interlocks; and the high voltage amplifier/function generator.
Techshot has been involved in the development of numerous Advanced Colloidal Experiment modules designed to perform mixing and temperature control tasks. In the development of these modules, discussions with researchers revealed a common need: a high voltage source and platform to perform colloid assembly and dielectrophoresis experiments. The majority of experimentation has been performed in ground based laboratories, with the exception of a few microgravity experiments aboard parabolic-flight vehicles. This has substantially limited achievable science.
E-GRID is a direct response to this need. To perform these experiments, a high voltage amplifier and function generator capable of producing sinusoids and square waves with amplitudes as high as 10kV and frequencies ranging between DC and 100kHz are required. Achieving this in space is a substantial engineering task. Fortunately, Techshot has exceptional experience with high voltage safety, which can be applied to this project. Our Bone Densitometer safely operates aboard ISS using an 80kV Crockcroft-Walton Generator.
We propose to space-qualify a commercial off-the-shelf amplifier/generator and pair it with a previously-developed Techshot experiment module. The experiment module is designed to work with the Techshot Dynamic Microscope Stage, which provides power, illumination, and communication to the experiment module when it is installed in Techshot's Mic-E (Microscope-EXPRESS) or the Light Microscopy Module.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The E-GRID platform is being developed as an enabling device for conducting microgravity research aboard the ISS. Beginning first as an application for NASA mission programs, Techshot will have developed a unique device capable of safely performing high-voltage investigator-initiated experimentation on colloidal samples in space. Therefore, the initial targeted application of the proposed innovation is an offering of both the equipment and services associated with flight hardware and integration activities, which are highly desired by NASA-funded scientists. Last year, Techshot began negotiating, and expects to soon execute, an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with NASA to enable the Government to lease (as needed) a wide variety of our "professional grade" flight hardware. Techshot will invest in the E-GRID platform by building a technology demonstrator with internal funds. This new business model is expected be very attractive to NASA since it eliminates the Agency's upfront risk for flight hardware development, and more importantly, it reduces NASA's cost of ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the flight hardware - for the life of the equipment. Under this new entrepreneurial venture, Techshot will investing even more to develop a full complement of enabling flight research equipment and integrate and qualify them for ISS. Overall, this should result in a profitable model for Techshot and significant cost savings for NASA.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are three potential levels of targeted applications: (1) serving the needs of commercial ISS scientists, (2) assisting these scientists in producing data for novel microstructured materials, and (3) low-gravity manufacturing of high-value finished goods. The application of the results of colloid research in space – to important terrestrial uses of novel nanostructured and microstructered materials in manufacturing, electronics and biomedicine – is the target of the commercial materials developers. Techshot expects to support the needs of private sector customers desiring to conduct cutting edge research with the proposed E-GRID technology. Recently, we met with researchers from Procter & Gamble, who previously have conducted flight experiments with colloids and have a keen interest in advancing several of their consumer products by learning more about how colloidal materials behave in microgravity. This could give rise to improvements in the composition and manufacture of their products, and prove to be valuable financially to the company. We also talked about the potential need for mass producing relatively small quantities of some unique materials that can be produced only in space, more than likely under a scenario where both the raw and high-value finished goods are transported by commercially contracted space transportation vehicles.

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.)
Active Systems
Analytical Instruments (Solid, Liquid, Gas, Plasma, Energy; see also Sensors)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Manufacturing Methods
Materials (Insulator, Semiconductor, Substrate)

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37