Huntsville, AL, United States
Huntsville, AL, United States

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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 497.15K | Year: 2013

A high-voltage, high-capacity, inexpensive cathode material for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) is proposed. The cathode material employs carbon nanotubes and additional nanostructures to support efficient transport of Li ions. The resulting LIBs will support high transient and pulsed loads while offering enhanced safety and lifecycle performance. Proof-of-concept LIB cells were demonstrated in Phase I. The cathodes exhibit high surface area, short diffusion paths, numerous active sites, and tolerance to volume change during charge/discharge cycles. In Phase II the cathode material and fabrication processes will be further refined. A variety of cells will be produced and tested. Also in Phase II, cells will be combined into higher-voltage LIB modules for specific applications. LIBs based on these cathodes will have better performance characteristics than currently available LIBs and will be much safer.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT:There is a need for a moderate resolution, high speed, radiation hardened (RH) Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) to support new satellite developments. Scientic proposes to develop a high speed, radiation-hardened DAC to be produced on-shore in a trusted semiconductor foundry to meet the data conversion needs of the US Air Force (AF) and other military and aerospace system developers. To accomplish this, Scientic has teamed with Honeywell Aerospace to define a state-of-the-art digital to analog conversion architecture to be implemented in an advanced technology at a trusted foundry. The DAC capabilities described in our proposal will provide direct and significant benefits to satellite communications and other space-borne applications by addressing their demanding requirements on performance, size, weight and power (SWaP). The operational parametric goals for our device are; 12 bit resolution, 2 GSPS sample rate, Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of 70dB or better, and Spurious Free Dynamic Range (SFDR) of 80dB or better. The radiation-hardness goals for the DAC are; Total Ionizing Dose 1e6 rads(Si), Single-Event Upset 1e-10 err/bit-day, Single-Event Latchup = None, Dose-Rate Upset 1e10 rads(Si)/s, and Dose-Rate Survivability 1e12 rads(Si)/s. The DAC will balance the tradeoffs between speed, resolution, noise, and radiation hardness with SWaP reductions.BENEFIT:Successful completion of the three-phase efforts briefly outlined in this proposal will result in a fully qualified, radiation hardened 12 bit, 2GSPS DAC device to satisfy system needs for signal processing. Within the radiation hardened electronics user base, there is a ready market for technology innovations that offer advanced, capable, and reliable radiation hardened devices to address critical component requirements for a wide range of defense, aerospace, and space science applications. This device will have relevance to defense, aerospace, and space science markets with significance to satellite (including micro/nano-satellite), missile defense, and other strategic defense systems. Specific applications for this device will include navigation, communication, command and control, and data acquisition for defense and commercial satellites, other space flight systems, interceptors, and radar/antenna arrays. Scientics commercialization strategy seeks to leverage Honeywells unique marketplace knowledge, as well as their integration, fabrication, and distribution expertise to establish a market basis for development and fabrication of the proposed radiation hardened DAC. This approach has particular advantage with respect to, risk reduction, product financing, market penetration, market credibility, manufacturing, production, and distribution. Upon successful completion of this program, Honeywell will be the primary source of production for this device. Honeywell has the capacity to produce and deliver thousands of devices per year. Members of our team have successfully developed numerous advanced radiation hardened devices for space and strategic applications in the past, including a 12-bit, 20 MSPS ADC currently used to support Trident and multiple other programs, a 14-bit, 125MSPS ADC currently undergoing QML qualification, and a 10Gbps multi-protocol SerDes transceiver. Scientic personnel, along with our technology partners, have extensive experience in the DoD market area. This experience has been gained over many years while working at this and previous corporations, both large and small, bringing sophisticated technology to the defense marketplace. For example, working in close cooperation with organizations such as Honeywell Aerospace, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Aeroflex, and Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI), we have developed and brought to market a number of radiation-hardened electronic devices. In addition Scientic personnel have established working relationships with defense component suppliers such as Kearfott for IMU technology and Rockwell Collins for missile defense interceptor communications applications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2014

We propose to develop a space based radiation hardened GPS transmit antenna capable of forming spot beams to enhance the GPS signal on the ground by greater than 5 dB. It is expected that our transverse compound hybrid antenna will provide as much as 30 dB gain over a hemispherical antenna allowing enhanced signals over specific areas as large as 500 km. A tradeoff between spot size and signal gain will be possible to overcome local jamming and spoofing environments. This antenna and control electronics will be hardened to survive in the natural space environment as well as the nuclear weapon environment described in the solicitation.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.01K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT:Cache memory has been used effectively for years to improve the computation performance of microprocessors. In microprocessors, the processor operations are performed on data contained within the register file via instructions that are loaded from main memory. Cache was implemented as a smaller, faster bridge between the register file and main memory to complement the processor speed. Systems operating in either a natural space or a nuclear weapons system radiation environment need radiation-hardened cache memory to ensure accurate processor functions. Our goal is to develop and commercialize a power efficient, high speed, radiation hardened cache memory device suitable for long-term space missions using existing trusted commercial processes and IP combined with innovative design architectures. To accomplish this, Scientic and Sandia National Labs (SNL) propose to leverage the memory architectures, cell designs, fabrication processes, and hardening techniques identified during Phase I of this program to develop an advanced SOA RH cache memory device, tailored to the AF Space application requirements, which can be implemented in existing fabrication processes to reach this goal. BENEFIT:High reliability integrated circuits operating in either a natural space or a nuclear weapon system radiation environment requires radiation-hardened cache memory to ensure accurate processor functions. Potential military and/or DoD applications for this device include command and control, navigation, communication, and data processing for interceptors, defense satellites, and other military and space flight systems. Other high reliability markets include commercial satellites, aircraft electronics, automobile electronics, and medical electronics. The electronic devices created for these markets typically have to mitigate soft errors; it is definitely the case for aircraft and medical electronics. Our approach is fairly efficient in a speed/density/power sense and provides an extremely low soft error rate, likely better than that which is currently in use. For military and/or DoD applications, our approach will begin by marketing to those organizations to which Scientic, Inc. and SNL have an existing business relationship and rich heritage of successful program deliveries. These include AFRL, SMC, Naval Research Laboratory, MDA, USASMDC, and other Government agencies, all of whom have an interest in survivable control systems. We also have excellent relationships with commercial sector organizations (technology corporations/prime system developers) that are potential users and will market these organizations as well. These include Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell, BAE Systems, and others. Finally, as mentioned above we will leverage our participation in conferences, seminars, and symposia such as HEART, GOMAC, RHET, and others to introduce the RH MST to the broader user community. The civil market requires a broader approach. Unfortunately, the proposed development lacks significant commercial potential. Most commodity microprocessors are at the 32 nm or beyond and employ multiple levels of cache already. The RH cache concept proposed herein will not perform better than what they already use. However, there exist certain high-reliability markets where hardened cache memory would be beneficial. These include commercial aerospace, commercial aircraft electronics, automobile electronics, and medical electronics. Electronic devices created for these markets typically have to mitigate soft errors; it is definitely the case for aircraft and medical electronics. Our approach is fairly efficient in a speed/density/power sense and provides an extremely low soft error rate, likely better than what is currently in use. Another potential high reliability market is computer servers. Servers that maintain large commercial websites are intended to be highly reliable, but also have high capacity. It is possible that the approach proposed here would be an improvement over what these systems currently use. These areas of interest potentially offer a fairly large commercial market. Although the main potential of the RH cache is as a companion integrated circuit for RH microprocessors or microcontrollers, where extremely low bit upset rates are required, this RH cache would be more effective if embedded in the microprocessor or microcontroller. In addition, once the proposed RH cache architecture is validated, the architecture is portable to other fabrication processes. Therefore, another potential opportunity consists of selling the architecture concept developed under this program to RH microprocessor or microcontroller developers for inclusion in their product. Successful completion of this program will result in a fully qualified, commercially available power efficient, high speed, radiation hardened cache memory device and/or RH cache memory IP to meet system requirements.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 121.86K | Year: 2016

Scientic, Inc., in collaboration with Vanderbilt University, proposes to develop a novel vacuum field emission differential amplifier (VFEDA) using low electron affinity nanodiamond (ND) material as electron emitters for high-power electronic application in harsh environments. The ND VFEDA is a fundamental circuit building block for vacuum integrated circuits (VICs) ideally suited for space applications. The proposed high-power nanodiamond-based VFEDA will be capable of operating over a wide-temperature range (-125 C to 450 C), possess tolerance to extreme doses of ionizing radiation and deliver the long-term reliability and stability needed to successfully execute environmentally stressful space science missions. Successfully developed, the proposed innovation will enhance NASA?s ability to reliably power spacecraft subjected to the harsh rigors of space, as-well-as autonomous systems engaged in the surface exploration of icy moons or operating in the high-temperature/high radiation environments of other solar bodies. It also has the potential to provide power components for nanosats and cubesats, thus improving the performance of systems engaged in near-Earth space science missions.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.98K | Year: 2013

Due to growing defense and aerospace system complexity and associated power management and distribution schemes, there is an ever-increasing need for monolithic, fully integrated, high efficiency, Point-of-Load (POL) converters to replace the centrally tailored power distribution approaches of the past. This Phase II effort will establish and demonstrate an approach to a ruggedized, Mil-Spec, extended temperature range, and monolithic radiation hardened POL DC-DC converter for missile defense, space, and aerospace power management applications for use in distributed bus architectures (DBA).


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2014

ABSTRACT: This effort will evaluate radiation hardened cache memory architectures with respect to future device parameter requirements; identify potential Air Force PNT systems, DoD, and commercial aerospace application requirements; select a suitable RH cache architecture to meet anticipated memory size, performance, and radiation requirements; and initiate the design of an advanced RH cache which meets or exceeds the noted radiation hardness levels. Cache memory has been used effectively for years to improve the computation performance of microprocessors. In microprocessors, the processor operations are performed on data contained within the register file via instructions that are loaded from main memory. Cache was implemented as a smaller, faster bridge between the register file and main memory to complement the processor speed. Systems operating in either a natural space or a nuclear weapons system radiation environment need radiation-hardened cache memory to ensure accurate processor functions. Scientic and Sandia National Labs (SNL) propose to leverage the efforts performed by our team in developing SONOS-based NVMs to identify, characterize, and design an advanced state-of-the-art RH cache architecture, tailored to the AF Space application requirements, which can be implemented in existing fabrication processes to reach this goal. Our concept is to build the basic RH cache out of commercially available static random access memory (SRAM) that meets the radiation hardness criteria except for single event upset (SEU), and mitigate the SEUs through the architecture. This will deliver the best cache performance with the least penalty from the radiation hardening. BENEFIT: Systems operating in either a natural space or a nuclear weapons system radiation environment needs radiation-hardened cache memory to ensure accurate processor functions. Potential applications for this device include command and control, navigation, communication, and data processing for interceptors, defense and commercial satellites, and other military and space flight systems. Successful completion of this program will result in a fully qualified, commercially available power efficient, high speed, radiation hardened cache memory device to meet system requirements. Commercialization of this device will involve a proven team consisting of Scientic, SNL, OSU, and NGC (where appropriate). Our team has been successful in developing, fabricating, qualifying, marketing, and selling 64Kb, 256Kb and 1Mb radiation-hardened SONOS-based EEPROM devices for defense and aerospace applications, and is currently developing a 128Mb radiation-hardened SONOS-based EEPROM under a SBIR Phase II contract to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Based on our past program history and device development successes, we anticipate supplemental funding to be available to support Phase III efforts. To ensure commercialization success of this program, the architecture and memory design selected in this Phase I effort will be compatible with a typical CMOS fabrication process flow to the greatest extent possible. As noted in Section 1.0, we will assess the SRAM fabrication options available at various trusted commercial processes. However, it is expected that one of the IBM silicon-on-insulator (SOI) processes will be the best suited for this project.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 746.15K | Year: 2013

ABSTRACT: In today"s limited government budget environment, the push is towards smaller spacecraft with more rapid development times (<24 months) than traditional systems, which are averaging 48-60 month development timelines. Our team has been a proponent of small satellites and the"faster, better, cheaper"philosophy. Customers can field systems with high utility, lower cost, more radiation tolerance, and high reliability in a very rapid timeframe to meet their mission needs. This trend should be embraced for a generation as the fielding of smaller systems with high utility sustains our country"s diminishing spacecraft workforce, fields a variety of key operational systems to meet a growing national defense threat, and lowers system cost through increased procurement of unique spacecraft components. The scope of this Phase II SBIR is to develop a low-cost, size, weight, and power (SWAP) strategically radiation hardened (RH) miniature star tracker (MST) with autonomous lost-in-space recovery and high-angular-rate tracking capability. The RH MST will be developed to survive and perform its mission in natural and man-made weapon environments encountered in low earth orbits (LEO), highly elliptical orbits (HEO), and geostationary orbits (GEO). Man-made nuclear weapon environments should be assumed to be added to the environments associated with natural space. BENEFIT: The first anticipated benefit of the RH MST is to provide precise, stable, and reliable attitude control for space launch vehicles and satellite systems. The benefit of the RH MST is for continued, high performance of the MST following accumulation of 300 krad (Si) of dose (proton and ionizing) and following a high dose rate from a man-made event. Our primary emphasis for the first planned product will be to focus on and respond to this requirement. As described above we will work in conjunction with established Air Force, other Government agency, and aerospace/prime system developer contacts to identify specific launch vehicles, payloads, missions, and programs where the RH MST can be applied at the system level. The global space market is expected to reach $196B over the next ten (1) years. Although access to certain elements of this market may be constrained due to ITAR, the remaining portion would still be substantial and affords significant opportunity for application of the RH MST, especially in the Government sector. Further, while our first priority is the development of a product meeting AFRL"s stated requirements for a strategically radiation hardened star tracker, we believe our design can be modified to pare costs. This would serve to preserve MST"s cost competitiveness in other markets (e.g., LEO, commercial satellite applications, etc.) where strategic hardness is not a requirement. While the DoD/Government space market is attractive, we believe there are other Government and civil market opportunities for this MST technology. For example, there is great interest within the Government and throughout the DoD (especially within the Air Force) for technologies which enhance the capability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Driven by the war on terrorism and ongoing combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, solutions are being sought that increase the endurance, range, and effectiveness of these and similar systems. We believe it is possible that elements of the technology being developed for the RH MST may be applied in these arenas. Additionally, applications abound in Homeland Security with the need for persistent surveillance at all critical infrastructure elements and in transportation security. Further, the civil target market for this technology is broad and commercially lucrative as well. For example, opportunities exist in border and maritime management and patrol, search and rescue, traffic monitoring, and commercial satellite augmentation. Other potential applications include: - Environmental science - Border surveillance - Wildland surveillance (fires, etc.) - Coastal and maritime surveillance - Monitoring severe weather systems - Emergency services, search-and-rescue, and disaster relief - Other domestic emergencies We believe it is possible to extend the application space for the MST by adding enhanced pattern recognition capability and modifying its digital logic and optics to serve a broader range of both Government and commercial applications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 739.66K | Year: 2013

ABSTRACT: Scientic, Inc. will team with Vanderbilt University to produce innovative new vacuum field emission (VFE) devices developed from Vanderbilt proprietary laterally configured VFE triode configurations. As a prototype demonstration device, Scientic and Vanderbilt will develop a novel low noise/low distortion VFE differential amplifier, which achieves the properties of ultrafast switching speed and insensitivity to temperature and radiation. This VFE differential amplifier will be valuable for targeted applications requiring temperature-immunity and radiation-hardness such as advanced elecommunication, military, and space microelectronics. The differential amplifier is the most widely used circuit building block in analog ICs and, as such, is an ideal candidate for this application. The implementation of VFE triodes in a differential amplifier configuration will promote the development of VFE ultrahigh-speed ICs, logic gates, and systems. This program will establish the technology and the roadmap that will lead to the manufacture of efficient, compact E-band vacuum nano-electric devices based on our cold cathode nanostructure material technology. BENEFIT: The developments at Vanderbilt University with diamond, carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and nano-diamond have led to VFE diodes and triodes with high gain and stable emission current demonstrating the potential for manufacture of next generation space hardened, temperature independent electronics derived from a non-solid state/non-semiconductor approach with nano-vacuum emitter devices that have numerous applications in military and commercial systems. These nano-electronic devices will replace transistors, providing electronic functions that are radiation and temperature insensitive; the nanodiamond electron [cold cathode] sources will have numerous applications in military and commercial systems.


Patent
Scientic, Inc. | Date: 2015-12-29

A new method and apparatus is described for igniting a plasma from high vacuum. The ignition method uses a small, short term and quick rise in gas flow into plasma chamber while being excited by RF power to ignite the plasma and then drops the gas flow to fixed input flow rate to maintain the plasma. This plasma starting technique does not use electronic means for ignition. The associated apparatus has a gas buffer chamber in fluid communication with the gas source and the plasma chamber, the gas buffer chamber having a small volume gas that is refilled when the device is off. A flow restriction between the gas source and the gas buffer chamber has a maximum flow rate therethrough of 30 sccm (standard cubic centimeters per minute) or less. A valve between the plasma chamber and the gas buffer chamber permits flow between the gas chamber and the plasma chamber, wherein, upon opening the valve, gas is admitted into the plasma chamber and pressure in the plasma chamber rises temporarily causing plasma ignition if the plasma excitation device is energized. The flow restriction maintains the gas flow during plasma operation to maintain a pressure between approximately 0.5 Pa and approximately 6-7 Pa.

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