Santa Fe, NM, United States

STAR Cryoelectronics, LLC

www.starcryo.com
Santa Fe, NM, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.99K | Year: 2015

X-ray absorption spectroscopy is a widely used experimental technique for studying the composition and chemistry of materials and is one of the driving forces behind the explosive growth of synchrotron light sources and their increase in brightness by many orders of magnitude. However, advances in detector technology have not kept pace with advances in synchrotron brightness, leading to limitations on scientific output and research capabilities. General statement of how this problem is being addressed Superconducting tunnel junction (STJ) X-ray detectors based on Ta thin films offer both high energy resolution and high count rate capability, two key features needed to meet growing demands for advanced detectors for synchrotron science applications. Work completed during Phase I and II We successfully fabricated several prototype STJ detectors and detector arrays during Phase I and Phase II. These prototypes have been characterized at the synchrotron, where we demonstrated world record energy resolution using a prototype multi-pixel STJ detector array. Plans for the Phase IIB project For Phase IIB, STAR Cryoelectronics proposes to extend the scope of the Phase II project to develop next-generation STJ detectors with significantly improved energy resolution and speed, both of which will enhance the competitive advantage of this detector technology and accelerate successful commercialization. Commercial applications and other benefits The new X-ray spectrometer based on STJ detector arrays will meet compelling needs for improved detector instrumentation for X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) at the synchrotron. This powerful spectroscopy technique is used to study the local molecular and electronic structure of specific elements. XAS samples can be highly diluted and generally do not require substantial pre-treatment, and they can range from chemicals and biological samples or tissues to soils and rocks. The significant performance enhancements that will be realized with the STJ Xray spectrometer will lead to greater scientific productivity and return on the Nations substantial capital investment in synchrotron facilities.K86


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.99K | Year: 2011

X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) is a powerful tool used to study the local molecular and electronic structure of specific elements in a broad range of samples ranging from chemicals and biological samples or tissues to soils and rocks. To achieve the utmost sensitivity, X-ray detectors are required that can separate the fluorescence signal of interest from the high X-ray background originating from other elements in the sample. Conventional X-ray detector technologies are unable to meet both the need for high energy resolution as well as high efficiency. Superconducting tunnel junction (STJ) detectors have become increasingly attractive for energy dispersive soft X-ray detection owing to the combination of their high energy resolution and high count rate capabilities. Most current-generation STJs are based on Nb thin films, but Nb is not the material of choice owing to its low atomic number and a line-splitting artifact that limits the useful energy range for these detectors to & lt;1 keV. During Phase I, STAR Cryoelectronics proposes to develop an innovative process for the fabrication of Ta-based STJ detectors and detector arrays for XAS over a broader energy range with superior energy resolution.Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The development of XAS has contributed to the significant growth of synchrotron science over the past few years and a broad range of applications in biological sciences, chemistry, materials science, Earth and environmental sciences. The STJ detectors to be developed during Phase I and Phase II represent an enabling technology for the development of next-generation X-ray spectrometers for XAS. Well over 50 synchrotron facilities exist in the world, each of which will have an interest in acquiring one or more XAS spectrometers for their beam lines. STJ detectors are also of interest for applications in astronomy and as extremely sensitive mass spectrometers for applications in genomics and proteomics


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2011

A new class of soft X-ray detectors based on superconducting tunnel junctions that offers both excellent energy resolution as well as high count rate capabilities is now becoming available. These advanced detectors operate at around 0.3 K and require a cryogenic refrigeration system and temperature control electronics for operation at this temperature, along with room-temperature readout electronics and software for spectral analysis. To be viable as an instrument for users at synchrotron beam lines, however, it is essential that the cryogenics and basic system operation be completely transparent to the user. Currently, complete turn-key cryogen-free spectrometers instrumented with STJ detectors are not available commercially. Cryogen-free refrigeration systems consisting of a two-stage pulse tube cryocooler and adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (ADR) offer a convenient means to reach temperatures below 0.05 K with long working times (nearly 20 hours at 0.1 K). Such cryogenic systems are ideally suited for the proposed spectrometer development effort. The complete cryostat design for the spectrometer was successfully completed during Phase I, including the sourcing of all key components. During Phase II, STAR Cryoelectronics proposes to build a turn-key, cryogen-free ADR cryostat with automated controls based on the design work completed during Phase I that will be instrumented with a 112 pixel STJ detector array for synchrotron science applications. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) is used to study the local molecular and electronic structure of specific elements. Samples can be highly diluted and generally do not require substantial pre-treatment and can range from chemicals and biological samples or tissues to soils and rocks. The development and commercialization of the advanced STJ-based X-ray spectrometer will meet growing needs for improved detector instrumentation for applications in synchrotron science such as XAS. The significant performance enhancements the proposed STJ-based X-ray spectrometer will lead to greater scientific productivity and return on the Nations substantial capital investment in synchrotron facilities.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

A recent report of the 25-member Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) recommends funding cosmic microwave background (CMB) experiments under all budget scenarios, specifically, the next-generation ground-based CMB experimental program whose aim is to provide definitive measurements of the early universe. For this program, large focal plane arrays with ~100,000 detectors and associated readout amplifiers and interconnecting components will be required, which exceeds the capacity of laboratory and university facilities. General statement of how this problem is being addressed We describe a research plan to develop low-noise cryogenic amplifiers based on series SQUID arrays for frequency domain multiplexed readout of large numbers of CMB detectors, and robust superconducting flex circuits that will simplify cryogenic systems integration for large CMB instruments, both of which will be scalable to large-scale production processes. Work to be completed in Phase I During Phase I, we will design and fabricate series SQUID array amplifiers and uperconducting flex circuits that are optimized for CMB detector readouts, and demonstrate the feasibility of these processes for transitioning to high volume manufacturing (HVM) readiness in Phase II. By the conclusion of Phase II, we expect to have all infrastructure, processes, and controls in place for high volume manufacturing of these components in order to meet CMB instrument needs. Commercial applications and other benefits The technologies to be developed through Phase I and Phase II will have direct applicability to other products and market applications STAR Cryoelectronics currently serves, including instrumentation for biomedical imaging, non-destructive testing of materials, and geophysical exploration. In particular, we anticipate that the proposed low-noise cryogenic amplifiers and superconducting flex circuits will enable the company to improve two types of X-ray spectrometers for materials analysis and basic research that the company currently offers. These instruments are in demand by semiconductor manufacturers and researchers at synchrotron facilities. Key Words: SQUID, series SQUID array, cryogenic amplifier, uperconducting flex circuit


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2016

Superconducting films of magnesium diboride (MgB2) are very attractive for a range of detector and telecommunications applications owing to the high critical temperature of these films, ~40 K, which greatly simplifies the cooling requirements. We propose to develop a reactive evaporation technique for the deposition of MgB2 thick films on wafers up to at least 4" diameter, and an etch back and passivation process to produce high-quality thin films that are needed for the development of superconducting single photon detectors (SNSPDs) and THz hot electron bolometer (HEB) mixers. Currently there is no domestic commercial source for MgB2 films; the only commercial source we are aware of is an overseas vendor that can supply films only on very small (


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2016

The development of the microwave kinetic inductance detector (MKID) has renewed interest in bolometric infrared detectors based on thin films of YBa2Cu3O7-x (YBCO) high temperature superconductor (HTS). A compelling advantage of HTS bolometers is that they can be operated at temperatures of around 50 K, which significantly reduces the complexity of the cooling requirements. To be viable for large-scale production of HTS bolometer detector arrays, high-quality, thin YBCO films are required on large-area Si wafers for increased throughput and to fabricate the membrane structures that support the YBCO bolometers. YBCO deposition on Si requires optimized MgO buffer layers deposited using ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD). Currently there is no domestic commercial source for YBCO films. In Phase I, we propose to improve the uniformity of currently available YBCO films on Si, and to design an innovative reactive co-evaporation system for the deposition of high-quality films of YBCO on large-area substrates that will be built and commissioned in Phase II.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.93K | Year: 2012

X-ray absorption spectroscopy is a widely used experimental technique for studying the composition and chemistry of materials and is one of the driving forces behind the explosive growth of synchrotron light sources and their increase in brightness by many orders of magnitude. However, advances in detector technology have not kept pace with advances in synchrotron brightness, leading to limitations on scientific output and research capabilities. In Phase I, STAR Cryoelectronics developed an innovative and streamlined process for the fabrication of high energy resolution, high count rate superconducting tunnel junction (STJ) X- ray detectors based on Ta thin films that will meet growing needs for advanced detectors for synchrotron science applications. Several prototype STJ detectors and detector arrays were successfully fabricated and characterized during Phase I. Record energy resolution has been achieved, and multi-pixel arrays with up to 112 pixels were successfully fabricated. During Phase II, STAR Cryoelectronics plans to further improve energy resolution, increase the maximum count rate per pixel, and enhance production yield and detector reliability. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The new STJ detector arrays represent the enabling technology for two significant commercial applications: X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) at the synchrotron, which is used to study the local molecular and electronic structure of specific elements, and X-ray microanalysis in conjunction with a scanning electron microscope (SEM), which is used for defect and failure analysis. XAS samples can be highly diluted and generally do not require substantial pre- treatment, and they can range from chemicals and biological samples or tissues to soils and rocks. The development and commercialization of multi-pixel arrays of advanced STJ X-ray detectors will meet growing needs for improved detector instrumentation for applications in synchrotron science such as XAS. The significant performance enhancements that will be realized with the proposed STJ X-ray detector arrays will lead to greater scientific productivity and return on the Nations substantial capital investment in synchrotron facilities.


Grant
Agency: Department of Commerce | Branch: National Institute of Standards and Technology | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 89.97K | Year: 2012

X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy is a widely used and extremely sensitive analytical technique for qualitative as well as quantitative chemical analysis. Superconducting Transition Edge Sensor (TES) microcalorimeter detectors have now been developed that achieve an energy resolution of 2 eV (full width at half maximum) for 1.5 keV X-rays, which is sufficient to enable the measurement of the small shift of the X-ray line position and line shape that occurs depending on the chemical bonding state of the fluoresced atoms. STAR Cryoelectronics proposes to develop the necessary processes to fabricate improved TES detectors that match this performance and integrate these detectors into the company’s energy dispersive microcalorimeter X-ray spectrometer for chemical shift mapping. This will significantly enhance the power of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy as an analytical tool for a broad range of applications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Commerce | Branch: National Institute of Standards and Technology | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 300.00K | Year: 2013

X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy is a widely used and extremely sensitive analytical technique for qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis. Superconducting Transition Edge Sensor (TES) microcalorimeter detectors have now been developed that achieve an energy resolution of 2 eV for 1.5 keV X-rays, which is sufficient to enable the measurement of the small shift of the X-ray line position that occurs depending on the chemical bonding state of the fluoresced atoms. STAR Cryoelectronics proposes to fabricate improved TES detectors that match this performance and integrate these detectors into an X-ray spectrometer for chemical shift mapping. This will significantly enhance the power of X-ray spectroscopy as an analytical tool for a broad range of applications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1000.00K | Year: 2014

X-ray absorption spectroscopy is a widely used experimental technique for studying the composition and chemistry of materials and is one of the driving forces behind the explosive growth of synchrotron light sources and their increase in brightness by many orders of magnitude. However, advances in detector technology have not kept pace with advances in synchrotron brightness, leading to limitations on scientific output and research capabilities. Research carried out in during Phase I and Phase II has led to the development of high energy resolution, high count rate superconducting tunnel junction (STJ) X-ray detectors based on Ta thin films with world record performance. This project is being extended in scope to include in Phase IIB the development of a turn-key X-ray spectrometer that will meet growing needs for advanced detectors for synchrotron science applications. Several prototype STJ detectors and detector arrays were successfully fabricated and characterized at the synchrotron during Phase I and II. World record energy resolution has been achieved at the synchrotron using a multi-pixel STJ detector array. For Phase IIB, STAR Cryoelectronics proposes to extend the scope of the Phase II project to include the development of a complete, turn-key X-ray spectrometer that will be easy to use by researchers at synchrotron facilities. This is an essential prerequisite for the successful commercialization of this breakthrough technology. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The new X-ray spectrometer based on STJ detector arrays will meet compelling needs for improved detector instrumentation for X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) at the synchrotron. This powerful spectroscopy technique is used to study the local molecular and electronic structure of specific elements. XAS samples can be highly diluted and generally do not require substantial pre-treatment, and they can range from chemicals and biological samples or tissues to soils and rocks. The significant performance enhancements that will be realized with the STJ X- ray spectrometer will lead to greater scientific productivity and return on the Nations substantial capital investment in synchrotron facilities.

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