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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Electrical Microgravity Research in Colloidal Development Platform

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Electrical Microgravity Research in Colloidal Development Platform, Phase I
The proposed innovation is a platform upon which to perform high voltage Electrical microGravity Research In colloidal Development (E-GRID). This platform will facilitate safe experimentation in space with colloidal samples at high voltages. E-GRID will be comprised of three components: the experiment module, which houses the colloidal sample and electrodes; the high voltage safety tether, which provides three levels of safety interlocks; and the high voltage amplifier/function generator. Techshot has been involved in the development of numerous Advanced Colloidal Experiment modules designed to perform mixing and temperature control tasks. In the development of these modules, discussions with researchers revealed a common need: a high voltage source and platform to perform colloid assembly and dielectrophoresis experiments. The majority of experimentation has been performed in ground based laboratories, with the exception of a few microgravity experiments aboard parabolic-flight vehicles. This has substantially limited achievable science. E-GRID is a direct response to this need. To perform these experiments, a high voltage amplifier and function generator capable of producing sinusoids and square waves with amplitudes as high as 10kV and frequencies ranging between DC and 100kHz are required. Achieving this in space is a substantial engineering task. Fortunately, Techshot has exceptional experience with high voltage safety, which can be applied to this project. Our Bone Densitometer safely operates aboard ISS using an 80kV Crockcroft-Walton Generator. We propose to space-qualify a commercial off-the-shelf amplifier/generator and pair it with a previously-developed Techshot experiment module. The experiment module is designed to work with the Techshot Dynamic Microscope Stage, which provides power, illumination, and communication to the experiment module when it is installed in Techshot's Mic-E (Microscope-EXPRESS) or the Light Microscopy Module. More »

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