NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation
FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY
|PROPOSAL NUMBER:||171 H8.01-8809|
|SUBTOPIC TITLE:||ISS Utilization and Microgravity Research|
|PROPOSAL TITLE:||Industrial Crystallization Facility for Nonlinear Optical Materials|
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Made in Space, Inc.
427 North Tatnall Street, #56666
Wilmington, DE 19801 - 2230
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Eric R Joyce
153 Dailey Rd
Moffett Field, CA 94035 - 0000
CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
153 Dailey Rd
Moffett Field, CA 94035 - 0000
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
ISS Utilization and Microgravity Research 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)
Made In Space, Inc. (MIS) proposes the development of an Industrial Crystal Facility (ICF) for microgravity product manufacturing and applied research. The ICF is focused on advanced materials engineering, rather than biomedical research, and serves a complimentary role to existing NASA-developed hardware, expanding utilization of ISS. Intended applications include nonlinear optical single crystals and other relatively large material formulations. This is a critical next step in the development of Low Earth Orbit as an economic development zone, using the ISS National Lab as a proving ground and following the forthcoming Made In Space Fiber (MIS Fiber) demonstration of manufacturing a product in space with economically-significant intrinsic value on the ground.
The ISS National Lab serves as an ideal platform to explore whether industrial crystals can be grown in microgravity to larger sizes and/or improved quality as compared with terrestrial sources. Existing low temperature solution growth methods take days to weeks to complete, so parabolic flights and suborbital vehicles are not suitable for establishing process baselines and making effective comparisons. Microgravity production holds the potential for room-temperature production of NLO materials for high-energy applications with size and quality undiminished by the effects of sedimentation and convection. A new facility is needed to explore the feasibility of microgravity-enabled industrial crystals as a new product market for Low Earth Orbit.
POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proliferation of photonic sensors and optoelectronic devices for both military and civil applications has no end in sight. From the warfighter on deployment to the commanding officers in the Pentagon, the Department of Defense wants more eyes on the battlefield. Operational needs range from troop-level LIDAR devices to optical and infrared sensors that feed tactical battlefield management systems to early-warning and detection of missile threats from space. Defense researchers are increasingly studying optical computing and other integrated photonic devices to reduce the vulnerability of traditional military electronic devices to jamming and electronic attack.
In the civil sector, including NASA, photonic device applications include laser rangefinding, photonic gyroscopes, spectroscopy, and optical communications. For example, the upcoming Laser Communications Relay Demonstration on the ISS, called ILLUMA, relies on a first-of-its-kind integrated photonics circuit to transmit and encode data at orders of magnitude higher rates than traditional digital systems. Future integrated photonics circuits can be lithographically printed on large single optical crystals, much as integrated microelectronic circuits are lithographically printed on semiconductor crystals today.
POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Demand for optical sensors, laser equipment, and optical switches for computing and communications continues to grow. Nonlinear optical materials alone represent a market of more than $1 billion in the optoelectronics sector. Semiorganic NLO materials are being investigated for fiber optic communications components, laser transmitters, computer memory devices, improved LIDAR, ultrafast optical switches, optical waveguides, and image sensors for automotive-safety systems, medical equipment, video security and surveillance networks, human-recognition user interfaces, and other embedded image collection devices.
Technical adviser Dr. Gregory Wurtz assesses that the benign production environment and flexibility in designing their nonlinear optical properties lends microgravity-enabled optical crystals towards applications in deep UV lasers for medical devices and the development of thin film materials for active nanoscale devices that are not currently easily fabricated.
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.)
In Situ Manufacturing