NASA SBIR 2022-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

Proposal Information

Proposal Number:
22-1- S13.05-1543
Subtopic Title:
In Situ Instruments/Technologies for Lunar and Planetary Science
Proposal Title:
Deep UV Raman Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometer for Depth Resolved Core Analysis

Small Business Concern

Physical Sciences, Inc.
20 New England Business Center , Andover, MA 01810
(978) 689-0003                                                                                                                                                                                

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Katharine Lunny
20 New England Business Center , MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 738-8245                                                                                                                                                                                

Business Official:

Dr. William Marinelli
20 New England Business Center , MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 738-8226                                                                                                                                                                                

Summary Details:

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :                                                                                                                                                          
Begin: 2
End: 3
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words):

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) will develop a compact, solid-state ultraviolet spatially offset Raman sensor with a diagnostic core retrieval system. The UV Raman sensor, currently under development at PSI, utilizes a UV laser (266 nm) that has been developed by Q-Peak (a division of PSI) for a previous NASA SBIR. The Raman sensor will also use a high throughput spatial heterodyne interferometric spectrometer (SHS). The SHS is 104 more sensitive to Raman photons than a conventional diffraction grating based slit-spectrometer operating with the same spectral resolution in the UV. In addition, the proposed UV Raman system utilizes the Rayleigh scattering law for Raman scatter at shorter wavelengths. The current UV Raman design will be modified to include a digital micromirror device (DMD) in order to collect spatially offset Raman signal (SORS) at varying penetration depths within a material. This system will be paired with a small core retrieval system in order to measure depth resolved Raman spectra within samples. This will allow for initial diagnostic testing of areas on small bodies, such as comet nuclei, to determine where larger cores should be collected and returned to Earth. Depth resolved measurements will be more indicative of volatiles trapped within the material that might vaporize off the surface during collection and avoids contamination that can occur at the surface. The Phase I effort will focus on functional testing of the SORS breadboard with the UV laser. In parallel, the Phase I will design a prototype core retrieval system, in order to better inform the final design for a Phase II prototype. 

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

The DUV-SORS system can be applied to NASA missions in which the goal is to retrieve sample cores that are to be transported back to Earth. This includes small body missions, as well as missions to Mars and the Moon. The DUV-SORS system will indicate areas of interest, prior to large core collection, by collecting small diagnostic samples and analyzing in situ. In addition, SORS will allow for depth resolved Raman spectra, eliminating the measurements of volatiles reacting at the surface, or contamination from collection methods.

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

The DUV-SORS system is applicable to the defense and law enforcement community for chemical detection where Raman is measured through interfaces (such as glass or plastic containers) that emit Raman and fluorescence signals. This specifically would be of interest in security applications such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) where measurements are taken through containers.

Duration:     6

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