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Charlottesville, VA, United States

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2014

This proposal is responsive to NASA SBIR Subtopic S1.02: Microwave Technologies for Remote Sensing, 640GHz Polarimeter. VDI has recently demonstrated the integration of a WR10 Mixer-Amplifier Multiplier chain (MixAMC), including the LO and IF amplifier MMICs, into a single waveguide housing. The focus of the proposed research is the extension these innovative integration technologies to include additional components required for atmospheric radiometers, and to extend the resulting technology across the frequency band of interest to NASA. Such integration will fundamentally improve the size, weight, reliability and cost of terahertz receivers. Additionally, the integration of a newly available low noise MMIC amplifier at the front-end of the receiver will allow these improvements to be achieved with an overall reduction in the power requirements and an increase in receiver sensitivity. At the end of the Phase 2 VDI will deliver to NASA a very compact and reliable receiver system suitable for polarimetric measurements at 640GHz. The ultimate result of this SBIR program will be the commercial availability of compact, reliable and cost effective receiver systems throughout the frequency range of interest for atmospheric remote sensing, including polarimetric measurement capabilities. Additionally, the new compact receivers will be compatible with CubeSats, which are expected to play a very important role in future atmospheric remote sensing missions.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.15M | Year: 2008

The terahertz frequency band, spanning from about 100 GHz through 10 THz, is today the most exciting region of the electromagnetic spectrum for scientists and engineers.VDI will create a compact and easy to use terahertz source. VDI’s integrated diode circuits will be used to extend the functionality of advanced microwave technology to the terahertz frequency band. The new source will generate useful power from 100 GHz through at least 1 THz and will be ideal for research laboratories striving to develop new applications of terahertz technology in fields including chemical and bioagent detection, personnel imaging to detect concealed weapons and explosives, short range secure communications and collision avoidance systems. It will meet all of the requirements described in the solicitation. In addition, it will allow frequency resolution of better than 1 kHz, generate milliwatt power levels at 200 GHz and at least 10 microwatts at 1 THz. It will also be compact, power efficient and adaptable for portable use and extendable to higher frequencies. Most importantly it will be cost efficient enough for a broad array of applications, including basic research facilities and university education laboratories.

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2011

The ITER ECE Radiometer system is envisioned to cover the frequency range from about 200- 300GHz with a set of three high reliability receivers. Each receiver will use a fixed frequency local oscillator source and a very broad IF bandwidth. The primary technical challenges are achieving flat performance across the IF band and ensuring a level of reliability that will assure system performance during critical ITER experiments. The IF bandwidth and reliability requirements of ITER create technical requirements that have not yet been achieved. The primary goal of this SBIR project is to demonstrate and deliver to the ITER program an all-solidstate receiver system that achieves all of the primary technical requirements for the ITER ECE Radiometer system. The proposed solution uses three independent receiver systems to span the 100GHz bandwidth required for ITER. These receivers will be based on a VDI receiver that has already been developed for the Alcator C-MOD ECE Radiometer. The primary technical challenges for ITER are to achieve flat receiver performance across the planned 40GHz IF band, and to fundamentally improve the reliability of the complete receiver system. The improvements in reliability will begin with a thorough evaluation of the reliability of the present receiver technology. Each of the components will be thoroughly evaluated and upgraded to meet the ITER requirements. Also a higher level of integration will be used for key components and the system as a whole. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The broadband and reliable receiver technology developed through this SBIR project will find applications spanning from basic science, through defense and security, industrial process control and medicine. Primary examples include radio-astronomy, chemical spectroscopy, atmospheric studies, plasma diagnostics for process control, short range and secure communications, the detection of chemical and biological threats and imaging systems. For example, passive imaging systems for portal security will benefit from the increased IF bandwidth. The broader IF bandwidth will also allow researchers developing short range communications links to achieve greater data rates. The increased reliability of the components and receiver systems will also be used in all of VDIs commercial products. For example, VDIs emerging commercial product line of frequency extenders for vector network analyzers and spectrum analyzers are a new tool for the development of improved devices, components and systems in the terahertz frequency range. The reliability improvements developed through this SBIR project will fundamentally improve the reliability and commercial viability of VDIs test and measurement products

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 600.00K | Year: 2009

This proposal is responsive to NASA SBIR Subtopic S1.03: Passive Microwave Technology, specifically the fourth bullet item; "Low noise (

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

Microwave radiometry is a well-known and extremely useful method to study the chemistry and dynamics of the Earth's atmosphere. For accurate long term measurements, the calibration and stability of the radiometer is of primary importance. Thus, the noise-injection radiometer (NIR), which greatly reduces drifts due to gain and noise figure variation in the receiver system, is highly preferred. The NIR architecture requires an electronic noise injection system consisting of a noise diode, a switch and a coupler to inject the noise into the signal waveguide. NIRs are now commonly used at lower frequency, but above about 100 GHz the noise diodes become much more difficult to achieve. Recently, VDI has measured significant ENR above 100 GHz from GaAs Schottky barrier diodes. This preliminary measurement with a non-optimized diode design, coupled with the fact that the VDI diodes have been used as mixers and multipliers to well over 1 THz, offers some promise that GaAs diodes can be used to achieve useful noise power levels to well above 100 GHz. Thus, the focus of this Phase 1 proposal is the investigation of noise diodes and noise sources based on GaAs Schottky diode technology for noise-injection radiometer systems above 100 GHz.

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