This NASA Phase I STTR program would develop high performance, wireless networked cryogenic and minimum pressure sensors for remote monitoring in propulsion systems, using SOI (Silicon on Insulator) NM (nanomembrane) techniques in combination with our pioneering ceramic nanocomposite materials. We will improve the current mechanical and electrical model of semiconductor nanomembrane based sensor performance that will allow quantitative optimization of material properties and suggest optimal methods for sensor attachment and use for 1) cryogenic and 2) purge-box minimum pressure measurement applications. We will perform synthesis of sensor materials with optimized transduction, hysteresis and environmental properties, specifically for cryogenic and minimum pressure, and also varying temperature use. Support wireless electronics will be developed to acquire, multiplex, store and process raw sensor array data.
The commercialization potential of the pressure sensor technology lies in four areas, 1) sensors for the measurement of pressure at cryogenic temperatures, 2) low cost simple pressure sensors for the verification of purge gas pressure inside instrumentation boxes, 3) the data processing and wireless communication modules, and 4) the software apps.
The sensor elements may be used as air flow or water flow devices in systems where either low weight, low surface profile, lack of need for space below the flow surface, or high sensitivity at a low cost are needed. Broader commercial sensor opportunities including oil and gas pipeline monitoring and biomedical channel measurement would be considered.