DR Technologies, Inc.

San Diego, CA, United States

DR Technologies, Inc.

San Diego, CA, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 70.00K | Year: 2010

The proposed STTR will demonstrate how magnetic meta materials based antennas are ideal for integration into composite structures where the graphite composite backplanes can be integrated with dielectric ballistic protection materials that surround, yet do not interfere with the antenna. In ongoing research we have shown such antennas can approach the theoretical Gain-Bandwidth Product (GBWP) limit for radiators limited to a surface. (The two-dimensional equivalent of the well know three dimensional Fano-Chu limit.) A feature of the design of these antennas is the ability to trade-off the permeability of the material against the cross section required to attain the desired GBWP and minimize weight and cost of the metamaterial while maximizing gain and bandwidth.The instantaneous bandwidth of the antenna is critical in applications where the same radiator is to be used over a very broad band of frequencies. We will demonstrate the capabilities of this technology in the form of a broadband radiator operating from 20MHz up, integrated into a structure suitable for a side panel of a vehicle performing an anti-IED. This conformal design eliminates visual signature cues that could identify the vehicle carrying this panel as an anti-IED vehicle.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.45M | Year: 2011

ABSTRACT: This SBIR develops and fabricates flight-quality solar modules that utilize advanced thin-film photovoltaic devices for use in a potential flight experiment. The photovoltaic assembly design is based on previous work done by DRT with thin-film solar cells and features an integrated manufacturing approach, advanced covershield materials which replace traditional glass, and a novel interconnect method. The module size and configuration is designed to comprise a single string of solar cells and support typical spacecraft bus voltages. Modules are mounted to a frame which itself is mounted to the body of the spacecraft. All hardware will undergo partial protoqualification testing including vibration, thermal cycle, and thermal vacuum environments in preparation for integration with a spacecraft. DRT will support assembly, integration, and test of the integrated modular panels at the spacecraft level. BENEFIT: The thin-film photovoltaic cell offers several advantages over the industry-standard triple-junction cell. Its higher efficiency increases available power on solar arrays while simultaneously reducing mass. On an equivalent rigid panel substrate, the advanced photovoltaic array proposed here reduces mass by 30% and increases specific power by 58%. Thin-film photovoltaics are also flexible, potentially allowing arrays to be bent or rolled-up during launch, which could mean reduced stowed volume. All these benefits could have a profound effect on solar array design for every class of spacecraft, and potentially enable higher power missions that are not possible with current array technology. The modularity demonstrated in this program could also have a significant impact for spacecraft integrators, especially in the smallsat arena. Pre-fabricated modular arrays allow drastic reductions in NRE and delays during assembly, integration, and test as well. Improved delivery schedule, reduced cost per watt, and the ability to implement newer solar cell technologies on short notice are some additional benefits offered by standardization and modularity. Demonstration of plug-and-play modularity in ground and flight experiments will go a long way to garner recognition and acceptance for the technology in the space community.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2010

DR Technologies, Inc. will begin development of a flexible covershield material capable of protecting thin film solar cells from space environments including ionizing radiation, atomic oxygen, humidity, and high voltage discharge. The covershield will be designed to maximize EOL power output after 5 years in LEO and 15 years in GEO. Phase I work will focus on two specific technology advancements that will enable a reduction in quantity and thickness of covershield layers, increasing BOL and EOL transmittance. The two technologies are transparent conductive bulk silicone and radiation hardened silicone. The conductive silicone will be developed using existing, proven materials while optimizing for spectral transmittance. The silicone will be radiation hardened using two approaches, each of which has been demonstrated previously, but can be optimized for a flexible covershield. All of the new technologies will be exposed to ionizing radiation to characterize their performance in a relevant environment. Additionally, a summarizing matrix will be created that lists critical properties of each coverglass material, allowing quick assessment of the tradeoffs of each technology. This matrix will streamline the selection of future configurations and experiments and ultimately allow rapid, informed selection of coverglass material appropriate to specific mission requirements. BENEFIT: There is an urgent need for the supply of space solar arrays with improved cost, reliability, stowability, and high specific power. A successful Phase I will demonstrate the feasibility of improved covershield materials that will make such arrays possible, enabling a reduction in mass and an increase in power on orbit. As a solar array integrator and developer of flexible solar array blankets, DR Technologies is ideally positioned to quickly implement advances in coverglass technology into a space flight.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.00K | Year: 2010

This SBIR develops a method for the integration of high-efficiency, thin-film solar cells into an Integrated Blanket Interconnect System array that features high specific power, low stowed volume, and a simple and reliable manufacturing approach. The Phase II program completes the design of the IBIS, including design of the IMM cell in concert with the cell supplier, bypass diode integration, covershield material, wiring, and stowage. Coupons will be assembled and tested to characterize and compare covershield material performance in multiple radiation environments. Three IBIS module test articles will be constructed utilizing streamlined manufacturing methods and an automated, consistent interconnecting method. The modules will undergo testing in relevant space environments including thermal cycling and thermal vacuum, with pre- and post- LAPSS characterization. Completion of the Phase II effort will see the IBIS technology ready for insertion into military, commercial, or experimental flight applications. Particular emphasis will be placed on inserting the IBIS in a flight experiment quickly, possibly as part of the MATRS experiment which already plans to fly DRT hardware. BENEFIT: An IBIS array that implements high-efficiency, thin-film solar cells offers several advantages over traditional triple junction, rigid substrate arrays. The flexible nature of the IBIS and its reduced thickness allow it to be stowed in a low volume. This feature along with the higher mass-specific power of the IBIS allows more power to be launched with a satellite than has ever been possible previously. Further, the continuous covershield allows the use of higher voltages which can in turn reduce gauge and weight of the wire harness. The laminated approach to the manufacture of the IBIS lends itself to lower manufacturing costs. This and the automation that is possible with novel interconnect approaches both reduce cost and improve reliability. Overall, the cost of the IBIS is likely to be lower than that of a traditional array. These features make the IBIS highly desirable for high-power missions that would not have previously considered a planar solar array. Such missions include DARPA FAST, Boeing HPSA, and MDA STSS. Additional applications include those with a high premium on mass such as UAVs or high-altitude airships.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2011

DR Technologies, Inc. will begin development of a rugged, collapsible solar concentration device to support tactical alternative energy production. The concentrator will be designed to be high-accuracy, modular, field-replaceable, lightweight, and manufacturable. Phase I work will focus on the design of the concentrator to meet the above goals for a 3kW power converter while ensuring the system fits into a Light Tactical Trailer and is easily and quickly deployed. Several novel concentrator concepts are considered during Phase I that will be fully designed and analyzed before a final selection is made for a prototype system. A 1/4 concentrator segment will be fabricated to demonstrate the inexpensive manufacturing technology and as a concentrator for the innovative power routing system. New surface protection materials will be tested for performance after exposure to a number of environmental conditions, including vehicle exhaust, abrasive blast, and prolonged UV exposure. Phase I will establish a viable baseline design and several key components that are necessary to success once a prototype is built.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 600.00K | Year: 2010

Future NASA missions including the Cornell Caltech Atacama Telescope (CCAT) and Global Atmospheric Composition Mission (GACM), require 1 to 4 meter aperture, submillimeter-wavelength, primary reflector (mirror) segments. Astigmatic surface errors in a composite primary reflector and inconsistent radius of curvature in composite reflector segments limit application of composites to instruments. This project proposes to improve upon state-of-the-art passive reflector surface accuracy by characterizing the behavior and properties of actuated, graphite composite reflector laminates and panels that are suitable for space and earth science instruments. Surface error in composite primary reflectors and inconsistent radius of curvature in composite reflector segments currently limit application of composites to submillimeter wavelength primary mirrors. The goal is to minimize surface error including ROC error.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2012

ABSTRACT: Thin film solar arrays using advanced Inverted Metamorphic solar cells can offer a significant increase in efficiency and specific power over conventional planar solar arrays for future spacecraft. The flexible low-mass solar cells require an equally flexible robust replacement to the conventional coverglass technology to fully realize both low specific power and deployment flexibility. This SBIR develops a flexible Conductive CoverGlass Replacement (CCGR) technology that will protect the solar cells from harsh spacecraft environments, while maintaining transparency through End of Life and assuring sufficient conductivity to mitigate ESD effects, so as to ensure that the high efficiency promised by IMM cells can be realized. The approach uses advanced nanotechnology to enhance the electrical conductivity and environmental robustness of space-qualified silicone materials. In this program, the properties of metallic nanoparticles will be evaluated and integrated with POSS nanoparticles to form a multi-functional coating that will provide electrical conductivity and resistance to radiation and atomic oxygen. Methods for integration onto thin film solar cell modules will be developed, and flight-representative test articles will undergo radiation exposure and thermal vacuum qualification tests. The result will be thin film modules that incorporate CCGR technology that are ready for space qualification testing. BENEFIT: The anticipated benefits of the IMM solar cell module with Conductive Coverglass Replacement include much higher specific power, in terms of Watts/kilogram and stowed volume efficiency, in terms of Watts/cubic-meter. This can enable a high power array that can package into a smaller envelope and be launched on smaller, lower cost launch vehicles. The research will also increase solar array robustness at reduced cost by providing a contiguous flexible shield instead of individual cover-glasses on the cells. This technology can also apply to other thin film solar cell technologies, and as a replacement for conductively coated glass in other applications, such as Optical Solar Reflectors for thermal control surfaces. The nano-structured material may also benefit other applications where enhanced electrical conductivity or selective absorptance may be needed, including structural grounding, thermal transport, and thermal control surfaces.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 729.99K | Year: 2010

A six month program was executed with the goal of developing a novel thermally conductive composite material utilizing TLPS resin formulations created by Creative Electron, of San Marcos, CA, and composites design and manufacturing expertise from DR Technologies, Inc., of San Diego, CA, to develop a through thickness enhanced thermal conductivity composite material and provide material examples of thermal testing results, as well as consolidation quality. Results varied, but a high through thickness thermal conductivity was measured repeatedly using a flash thermography method at 16.2 W/m K. Densities for the various specimens ranged in the area of aluminum (2.7 g/cc), but some samples weighed in at something in excess of 4 g/cc due to excessive resin and flux content. A Phase II effort was laid out to investigate alternative structural preforms that would contribute further to the through thickness thermal conductivity, as well as leverage the lessons learned from the Phase I effort for improving the homogenaeity and processability of the TLPS/carbon fiber product, for potential use in missile airframes and secondary aircraft/space structures. A path forward to develop early production as well as a defined structural test plan to optimize thermal and structural performance of the TLPS/continuous carbon fiber reinforced conductive composite.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2009

Advances in replication mold technology that reduce material costs, grinding time, and polishing time would enable fabrication of large, precision molds and possibly optics at 50-75% lower cost. Mold cost savings could be applied to other aspects of a telescope mission's technology development and demonstration efforts to reduce large aperture far infrared telescope areal density and improve optical technical performance.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2009

This SBIR program will identify and address the primary technical issues that limit the current precision of replicated CFRP optics. These issues must be resolved to bring this capability to the sub-micron range of precision required by the next generation of flight and ground submillimeter and far infrared projects. Were these issues resolved, this capability would provide reduced cost and risk and improved areal density, thermal stability, and stiffness to the large sub-micron optics required by the next generation of flight and ground submillimeter and far infrared projects.

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