NASA SBIR 2020-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 20-1- S4.05-6431
 Contamination Control and Planetary Protection
 Plasma-Based Techniques for Spacecraft Contamination Control
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CU Aerospace, LLC
3001 Newmark Drive
Champaign, IL 61822
(217) 239-1703

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Joseph Zimmerman
3001 Newmark Drive Champaign, IL 61822 - 1474
(217) 239-1702

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

David Carroll
3001 Newmark Dr Champaign, IL 61822 - 1474
(217) 239-1703
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 2
End: 4
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

In this NASA Phase I SBIR, CU Aerospace and the University of Illinois Microbiology Department will partner to develop compact sterilizers based on plasma-generated Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) technology.  Specifically, the team will apply radio frequency electric discharges operating at moderate pressure (5-50 Torr) in O2:He mixtures to generate significant quantities of reactive species, especially singlet delta oxygen, referred to as O2(a), a known sterilant of various microorganisms.  The afterglow exhaust from the plasma generator will be flowed over samples of spores (e.g. G. stearothermophilus), and the inactivation rate of the spores at various plasma reactor settings will be determined.  Various reactive oxygen species (electronically-excited singlet O2, O atoms, ozone) produced in the plasma reactor will be characterized while flow temperatures will be monitored spectroscopically, and these results will be used to derive exposure conditions suitable for sterilization of various spacecraft materials. A methodology for quantifying bacteria inactivation on various materials will be devised. The team will develop a preliminary design for a prototype demonstration unit which simulates an in-situ sterilizer configuration for validating application on exploration missions.

Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

In response to spacecraft contamination concerns, the proposed work will develop procedures, techniques, and a knowledge base for aiding in validation of plasma-generated ROS for decontamination roles on future missions. Envisioned roles are: (1) sterilization of spacecraft components prior to deployment, (2) in-situ treatment of sampling tools prior to collection, (3) treating bio-containers prior to return-sample collection and container exteriors prior to stowage, and (4) use on manned missions for science tools and medical equipment.

Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

The plasma-generated ROS technology has strong potential for low-temperature sterilization needs in the healthcare industry, and others such as wearable consumer electronics, where decontamination is necessary. A target application for closed-cycle operation of the proposed technique is a compact sterilization chamber for medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Duration: 6

Form Generated on 06/29/2020 20:58:58