NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation
FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY
|PROPOSAL NUMBER:||171 S4.04-8643|
|SUBTOPIC TITLE:||Extreme Environments Technology|
|PROPOSAL TITLE:||Rad-Hard LDO|
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
398 South Mill Ave, Suite 302
Tempe, AZ 85281 - 8528
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Esko O. Mikkola Ph.D.
398 S. Mill Avenue, Suite 304
Tempe, AZ 85281 - 2840
CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
398 South Mill Ave, Suite 302
Tempe, AZ 85281 - 8528
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Extreme Environments Technology 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)
Alphacore Inc. will develop a wide temperature range, digitally controlled linear low-dropout regulators (D-LDOs) for space and harsh environment applications. Alphacore Inc will collaborate with ASU scientists to develop a radiation hardened-by design, digital intensive, unconditionally stable D-LDO with the following features:
- A fully integrated digital low drop-out regulator (DLDO) with a fast transient response providing a well-regulated supply for system-on-chip (SoC) power management applications
- Wideband operation and fast transient response are achieved through a transient enhanced digital Proportional and Integration (PI) controller, without compromising the stability of the DLDO.
- The transient enhancement stage boosts D-LDO loop-gain dynamically during load transients. In the gain boosting mode, the D-LDO closed loop bandwidth is increased, resulting in reduced undershoot/overshoot and faster recovery of the output voltage. When the output voltage recovers to the desired level, the boost mode operation is disabled.
LDOs are commonly used in low noise, fast response RF, analog, mixed-signal, and digital core power management applications. Fast response associated with LDOs provide a fast and energy-efficient wake-up, and low noise operation. Lack of high-speed switching and an LC type output filter makes them more attractive for high dynamic range telecommunication signal chain applications. To ensure fault-free operation of the digital cores and memory chips, the supply voltage must remain within a certain error window with minimum deviation under transient events, typical in space application. This supply voltage window is determined by reliability constraints of the process used in the upper boundary and speed requirements on the lower boundary. Alphacore Inc. and ASU's proposed digital linear low-dropout regulator will be fully digitally controlled, enabling portability across various process technologies.
POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A wide operating temperature range, digitally controlled linear low-dropout regulators (LDOs) ensuring stable operation of low-dropout voltage regulators for space and harsh environment applications will be beneficial to NASA solar exploration missions such as to Jupiter (Europa Mission), to Mars (InSight, Mars Exploration, MAVEN, potential MRS Mars return samples), future Solar Probes, and other missions to explore deep atmosphere and surface of giant planets similar to Juno and Cassini.
Other anticipated new NASA missions for science and exploration of the universe are expected to challenge current power management specifications. Alphacore's LDO voltage regulator can help aide in supporting electronic systems that can accommodate the ever-growing power requirements for NASA's science and exploration missions. WFIRST - scheduled launch mid 2020's - a next-generation observatory to carry out wide-field imaging and slit-less spectroscopic surveys of the near-infrared sky, with an emphasis on studying dark energy and exoplanets has critical power needs. Future Earth-observing missions planned for 2021 and later that include ECOSTRESS, GeoCARB, HyspIRI, MAIA, InSAR, NISAR, Pre-ACE, TEMPO, and TROPICS are all expected to have increased power management demands. Additional potential applications include solar system exploration missions such as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Solar Probe Plus missions.
POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Alphacore's rad-hard LDO is a great match for a range of governmental and commercial applications for radiation-tolerant systems including High Energy Physics (HEP) experiments (e.g., CERN) particle detection, medical irradiation and imaging systems, nuclear weapon proliferation monitoring, and space-based sensors. Research in these areas will enable the main avenues of discovery to increase knowledge of human kind and perhaps find answers to mysteries such as the origin and form of the Universe.
Boeing has provided a strong letter of support to work with Alphacore. This LDO could enhance the system capabilities of Boeing rad-hard programs that have high efficiency power electronics requirements. Boeing has offered its radiation testing facilities to carry out this project. Cobham is interested in this program both as a potential customer and vendor of the LDO.
Other candidate partner or customer companies include rad-hard semiconductor manufacturers and vendors (TI, Honeywell, Microsemi, DDC, and ON) and aerospace/defense systems developers and integrators, e.g., Raytheon, Orbital, ATK, L-3 Communications, United Technologies, SSL, General Dynamics, Sierra Nevada Space Systems, and Dynetics Space Systems. Main government agencies to be targeted are DoD, NASA, NOAA, US Geological Survey (USGS). Commercial space platforms that will benefit from the proposed LDO include both LEO and GEO telecommunication satellites, such as Intelsat, Direct TV, XM radio, Orbcomm and Iridium.
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)