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SBIR/STTR

Space Flight of Ultra-Low Noise Quad Photoreceivers for Laser Interferometric Gravity Wave Detection, Phase I

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Ultra-low capacitance quadrant InGaAs photoreceivers have been developed as part of the following successful NASA SBIR contracts by Discovery Semiconductors (DSC): (1) Phase I SBIR Contract # NNX09CD48P (01/22/09 to 07/21/09); and (2) Phase II SBIR Contract # NNX10CA59C (02/25/10 to 02/24/12). The photoreceivers are based on low capacitance per unit area photodiodes, combined with a commercial operational amplifier, and have achieved low cross talk, low capacitance, and low noise. With the successful completion of the design goals of the Quad Photoreceivers, the LISA community worldwide is eager to have these devices space-flight ready. Thus, the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) FF is a perfect vehicle to launch these quad receivers in space, and operate them for 12 to 18 months in harsh conditions. This view is strongly supported by Dr. Jeff Livas, Chief, Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory, at NASA GSFC. Based on our prior experience with launching LIDAR InGaAs Photoreceivers on a MISSE 7 Flight, it is unrealistic to expect a MISSE FF launch in the 6 months short duration of this Phase I SBIR. Thus, our Phase I objective will be to perform the five key MIL-STD Tests, on the LISA Gravity Wave InGaAs Quad Photoreceivers. These tests will serve as a foundation for a potential MISSE FF Space Flight in Phase II SBIR of this program. MIL-STD reliability tests to be carried out in this Phase I SBIR are : (1) Mechanical Shock; (2) Vibration; (3) Thermal Shock; (4) Temperature Cycling; and (5) Damp Heat (humididty). More »

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