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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

A Compact Sensor with Multiple In-Situ Sensing Capabilities

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

A Compact Sensor with Multiple In-Situ Sensing Capabilities
Planetary rocks, soils, liquids and atmospheric gases are ideal targets for scientists to study the possibility of life existence and the habitability, nature and evolution of planetary systems. Currently, NASA uses different sensing technologies to analyze planetary samples. The use of multiple instruments increases the weight, complexity, power consumption as well as the probability of system malfunction. It is critical to develop lightweight miniaturized multi-functional sensor to enable NASA's multiple-mission needs and therefore make the best use of limited resources by reducing the cost, size, and the number of instruments. Crystal Research Inc. (CRI) proposes a novel compact optical sensor with multiple in-situ sensing capabilities for measurements of various inorganic and organic samples for planetary study and search of biomarkers. The proposed technique is based on a nonlinear coherent interaction process to detect the backward spectral signals from the targets. The detection is enabled by using our novel electro-optic (EO) switchable spectral filtering technique to eliminate spectral artifacts and nonresonant background. The standoff scheme facilitates the implementation of multiple measurements by using a single sensor for nondestructive analysis of different samples on land surface or in atmosphere. It eliminates the sample preparation process, contamination and other related accessories. More »

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