NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation
FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY
|PROPOSAL NUMBER:||171 S1.05-9394|
|SUBTOPIC TITLE:||Detector Technologies for UV, X-Ray, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Instruments|
|PROPOSAL TITLE:||SiC 10um-Pitch UV Imaging Array and APD with Active Pixel Readout|
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CoolCAD Electronics, LLC
7101 Poplar Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912 - 4671
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Zeynep Dilli
7101 POPLAR AVE
TAKOMA PARK, MD 20912 - 4671
CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
7101 Poplar Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912 - 4671
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Detector Technologies for UV, X-Ray, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Instruments 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)
CoolCAD Electronics, LLC, proposes to design and fabricate a SiC UV detector array with a 10μm pixel pitch, sensitive to EUV, VUV and Deep UV. SiC is a visible-blind material with very low intrinsic dark current, able to operate at >350C. Expanding from our past successful demonstration of UV sensors and MOSFET circuits on the same substrate, we will develop fabrication processes and capabilities to design and integrate SiC pn-junction photodiodes and low-voltage MOSFET devices with the required small dimensions. To our knowledge, this represents the first program to scale SiC optoelectronic circuits to such feature size restrictions; particularly, a 1μm MOSFET gate length and submicron margins for layer overlaps. Scaling monolithically-integrated sensors and transistors to submicron feature sizes advances the SiC technology state-of-the-art. We plan to extend our process flow and device designs to use a semiconductor reduction stepper during fabrication to enable submicron features. We will demonstrate single pn-junction photodiodes, photodiodes with MOSFETs in the 3-transistor pixel architecture, and arrays of both these structures. We will deliver a 32 x 32 passive array and a 4 x 4 active array that contains SiC MOSFETs as well as photodiodes. This effort lays the groundwork for developing a megapixel array in a future Phase II or related program. We will further design planar SiC avalanche photodiodes and planar APD arrays, as the initial step to monolithically integrating APDs with their readout electronics and therefore obtain a high-temperature-operation-capable detector, sensitive to extremely low illumination levels. The entire design and fabrication will be performed in the United States, and using CoolCAD's patent pending fabrication processes.
POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
We propose to design and fabricate, SiC intrinsically visible-blind, 10μm pitch, small-pixel-size UV and EUV detectors and active pixels. We also plan to design monolithic Geiger mode avalanche photodetectors, which can replace large and expensive multiplier tubes. These devices and optoelectronic integrated circuits have immediate applications in high-resolution imagers, and sensor and spectroscopy instrument components. Such components are usable for missions such as the successors to the Solar Orbiter, missions of the Living with a Star program, and other solar and terrestrial probes such as DYNAMIC and MEDICI, as well as in future instruments such as JEM-EUSO and OWL ultra-high energy cosmic ray instruments. The work described here also represents significant steps forward in SiC technology in general, and in monolithic integration of SiC sensors with their readout circuitry in particular. Low-power, high-sensitivity, extreme-environment-capable sensor technology is facilitated as SiC technology matures, with significant implications for the fabrication of low-weight, robust, efficient payloads, meeting the needs of future programs such as GEO-CAPE, the next-generation GOES and SOHO, and planetary science missions. The design and fabrication performed totally in the United States, and in close proximity to the NASA GSFC, which will be able to take advantage of CoolCAD's capability to fabricate application specific optoelectronic integrated circuits.
POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
One of the largest extant markets for UV detection is sanitation and water filtration. UV water purification systems are in increasingly wide use. The target wavelength is 260nm, which denatures bacteria proteins. Such systems, which currently have a market size of $750 million, require sensors to monitor the efficacy of the system over time. CoolCAD Electronics is currently collaborating with several UV filtration companies to test SiC photodetector parts fabricated in-house. The shorter UV wavelength allows for higher imaging resolution, leading to commercial applications in manufacturing and quality control, for defect monitoring and material fatigue inspection, and in monitoring weld quality in industrial welding applications. In addition, SiC UV detectors have application for oil and gas exploration where they can replace expensive photomultiplier tubes. A military and government application area of UV sensors with high sensitivity in the EUV, VUV and Deep UV regions is early warning systems, since rocket and jet engine plumes emit UV radiation. There are also emergent non-line-of-sight communication systems using UV signals, which will significantly benefit from monolithic integration of UV photodetectors and communication electronics.
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.)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Detectors (see also Sensors)
Microfabrication (and smaller; see also Electronics; Mechanical Systems; Photonics)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Optical/Photonic (see also Photonics)