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Houston, TX, United States

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 600.00K | Year: 2011

Achievement of a dramatic increase in the bond strength in the adhesive and composite/adhesive interfaces of existing fiber reinforced composite material joints and structures suitable for various NASA applications is the main goal of this project. The proposed technology developed at Integrated Micro Sensors Inc is based on laser-assisted fabrication of Micro Column Arrays (MCA) on the surface of the two materials prior to bonding. There are several advantages of the MCA technology in the drastic improvement of any bond: (i) mechanical strength increases due to interlocking of the adhesive or brazing material between micro columns, (ii) the bond strength increases due to the increase of the specific surface area by more than an order of magnitude, (iii) stability increases due to the inherent elasticity of the micro cones during a deformation, (iv) increase in the bond durability because of the repeated bend contours of the surface preventing hydrothermal failure, (v) wettability of the material surface significantly improves due to the highly developed surface morphology at the micro and submicron level and changes in local chemistry as a result of surface oxidation. Based on the feasibility proven in the Phase I project, this Phase II project will focus on implementation of the proposed technology for newest materials developed up to date and scaling of the proposed technology to large area and complex shape FRP composite structural joints. The investigation of the approach based on using the bond interface electrical properties for joint health monitoring initiated in the Phase I project, will be further developed into viable transducer device concepts.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2011

The objective of this project is to develop a wireless intelligent dual-band photodetector system for advanced fire detection/recognition, combining UV/IR III nitride material photodiode structures controlled by FPGA portable circuitry, with a neural network identification capability. Spectral range, detector speed, spatial resolution become critical for fast fire detection as well as for avoiding costly false alarms. Current detectors are bulky, have low mechanical and temperature strength, and cannot be easily integrated into networks. Miniature, chip-based dual-color high-temperature visible- or even solar-blind optical sensor system would allow for fast and false alarm-free fire detection and recognition, thus providing a fast and reliable response in separated UV and IR bands with high spatial resolution, and "smart", artificial neural networks based signal analysis Moreover, development of such sensors will promote fabrication of multi-pixel dual-band UV/IR focal plane arrays with a visible- or solar-blind imaging capability. This project will also consider integration the optical sensor system with existing state of the art smoke sensors for detection of smoldering (flameless) fires as well. One of the approaches for such integration is based on placing the remote high sensitivity dual-band UV/IR focal plane arrays integrated smoke detectors in areas that are prone to possible fires, such as aircraft or spacecraft engines and power circuits. These devices will then communicate with one central control system that analyses the nature and type of flame and sound an alarm accordingly. The second approach is to integrate the smoke and the high sensitivity dual-band UV/IR focal plane array detector into a unit controlled by one system, and then place them in a close proximity of possible fire sources.

Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2009

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I research project explores a novel laser processing technique to produce nano-dielectric films which are based on polymer coated metal nanoparticles. This will enable in-house synthesis of nano-dielectrics films using laser irradiation of target materials in a liquid environment exhibiting a dielectric constant several orders of magnitude higher than that of the host polymer. Scaling up this technology will lead to fabrication of high energy density capacitors with both reduced size and mass. The pulsed laser ablation process has been successfully applied for fabrication of micro column arrays on various materials for blackbody and thermal management applications. The proposed method can lead to very high dielectric constants which would increase the energy density of the dielectric. The proposal also addresses high temperature use. The broader impact will be to lead to the fabrication of ultra high energy storage capacitors that will find use in commercial and military systems where size and weight are a premium. These devices should allow storage of a large amount of charge per unit volume (high energy density) that can be released rapidly (high power density). Commercial super-capacitors currently available have either too low power or energy density to meet future power storage needs or are too expensive to manufacture. This technology will find applications in load leveling, power back-up in electronics and automotive industry and various aerospace and military systems.

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2009

Current high-temporal-resolution electron microcopy employs the photoelectric effect to achieve electron pulses in the femtosecond range. These systems employ high-efficiency photo cathodes excited by short-pulse lasers. Field-emission cathodes based on micro-tip arrays provide an alternative approach. These field emitter cathodes are electron sources in the form of arrays of micro-fabricated sharp tips. Field emission is used to extract the electrons without heating the cathodes. However, sputtering of the tip ¿ from residual gas molecules ionized by the emitted electrons ¿ blunts the emission point, increases the required voltage, and changes the electron emission properties. Hydrogen-rich molecules tend to increase emission, while oxygen-based molecules tend to decrease emission. This project will develop, fabricate, and test ultra-high-speed, high-stability, high-current-density, photon-enhanced planar cold cathodes, based on avalanche photon/electron emission diodes fabricated from III-Nitride semiconductor materials. The high speed, high stability, and high current density of the proposed devices will be provided by employing an avalanche process based on hot electrons generated by a strong electric field when a reverse bias is applied to the semiconductor diode. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The cold cathodes should find use in fast and hardened miniature electron sources for several advanced applications, including electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, and Auger spectrometry. The technology also should be applicable to field-emission-based devices for super-ambient and harsh environments.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2008

The objective of this proposal is to develop InGaN photovoltaic devices with high conversion efficiencies for DOD concentrator terrestrial and AM0 orbital power generation. InGaN can be fabricated to span a wide bandgap range from ~0.7 to 3.4 eV and matches well to the solar emission. The combined thermal stability and radiation hardness higher than that of other solar cell materials currently in use, make InGaN a particularly attractive material for high concentration, high temperature, and space environments. The proposed work would result in two high performance products. One product will be an all-InGaN multijunction cell having high efficiencies with improved radiation hardness, excellent high temperature and chemical stability, and low toxicity. The second product will be an InGaN cell for synergistic near term incorporation into existing photovoltaic technologies as a tandem booster.

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