Status Report

Teaming Opportunity for the Advanced Component Technology (ACT) Program

By SpaceRef Editor
February 7, 2002
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DUE 021902

POC Mary Jane Yeager, Contracting Officer, Phone (757) 864-2473, Fax (757) 864-7709, Email – Robert B. Gardner, Contracting Officer, Phone (757) 864-2525, Fax (757) 864-7898, Email

NASA Langley Research Center is seeking University and Industry partners for the Advanced Component Technology (ACT) Program NRA. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) intends to release a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) in the near future for the Advanced Component Technology (ACT) Program. The ACT Program, formerly known as the Advanced Technology Initiatives Program (ATIP) seeks proposals for technology development activities leading to new components and subsystems to be developed in support of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise (ESE).

The objectives of the ACT program are to identify, develop and demonstrate component and subsystem technologies which reduce the risk, cost, size, and development time for Earth observing instruments, platforms and information systems and, enable new Earth observation measurements. This NRA solicits component and subsystem technologies for Earth observing instruments, including in-situ and remote instruments for surface, space-borne, and airborne measurements, that have the highest potential to meet the goals of the ACT program and the measurement capability requirements of the ESE. The ACT program is envisioned to be flexible enough to accept technology developments at various stages of maturity (entry TRL 2 to 4), and through appropriate risk reduction activities (such as requirements analysis, conceptual design, laboratory breadboards and pre-engineering models), advance the TRL of the component or subsystem.

Successful proposers must present innovative concepts which address key ESE science questions. The ACT Program will competitively select proposals through a peer review process. The total proposed period of performance should be at least one year and not exceed 36 months. NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is seeking partners from other government agencies, industry, academia, and Federal Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) to participate with NASA LaRC Principal Investigators (PI) in the ACT Program to develop proposals and execute development and performance demonstrations of components and subsystems. Subject to the availability of funds, selected proposal(s) would result in component and/or subsystem contract(s) for the selected partner(s).

This partnering opportunity does not guarantee selection for award of any contracts, nor is it to be construed as a commitment by NASA to pay for the information solicited. It is expected that the partner(s) selected would provide (at no cost to NASA) conceptual designs, technical data, proposal input, project schedules and cost estimates consistent with the requirements of the NRA. Potential partners must demonstrate the capabilities and experience to provide components and subsystems consistent with the efforts synopsized for each intended LaRC proposal. Partners must work collaboratively with NASA and other potential industry and academic partners to perform the required tasks.

Partner selection(s) will be made by LaRC based on the following criteria in the following order of importance: (1) Relevant experience, past performance, technical capability and availability of key personnel. This criteria evaluates the proposers relevant recent experience, past performance in similar development activities, technical capability to perform the development and key personnel available to support the development. Substantive evidence (points of contact and telephone numbers) of successful participation in similar developments should be included. (2) Cost and schedule control. This criteria evaluates the proposer’s ability to control both cost and schedule. The proposer should provide evidence of successfully controlling cost and schedule for similar development programs and provide evidence of management processes in this area. (3) Facilities. This criterion evaluates the proposer’s facilities (development, testing, and analyses) to conduct the development or demonstration of the proposed task. The proposer should discuss facility availability, access, and the ability to meet the proposed objectives. Responses should be limited to 5 pages (12 point font) and address each of the criteria. A single proposal may be submitted to more than one instrument team. In all cases, the responder must indicate on the cover page of the proposal (not part of 5 page allocation) the applicable instrument team(s).

All responses should be sent to: NASA Langley Research Center, Attn: Brian D. Killough, Mail Stop 214, Building 1229, Room 120H, Hampton, VA 23681. The preferred method of submission is via email to: The due date for submission is COB February 19, 2002. Procurement questions should be directed to Mary Jane Yeager, NASA LaRC Procurement Office, 757-864-2473,

The following LaRC technology proposals are seeking partnerships. The technical requirements and NASA LaRC point of contact for questions is provided for each technology proposal:

(1) Uncooled Infrared Detector Technologies Technical Point of Contact: Dr. Marty G. Mlynczak, 757-864-5695, NASA Langley Research Center is actively planning and developing a variety of sensors to measure the Earth’s radiation budget and climate, and the temperature, moisture, and chemical composition of the troposphere and stratosphere from space based satellites. The Center envisions developing a variety of Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) instruments to make these measurements and would like to introduce and develop the most advanced infrared detector technology into these instruments. Specifically, NASA would like to develop sufficiently advanced infrared detectors that do not require active cooling by cryogenic devices whose presence places substantial demands on the power, lifetime, and mass, and thermal design of the sensor. The Center is therefore seeking partners with which to develop infrared detector technology to meet a variety of needs. The particular requirements include: Spectral sensitivity: Wavelengths from 4 to 100 micrometers (mid- to far-infrared). Optical modulation frequency: 100 to 2000 Hz Noise Equivalent Delta Temperature: < 200 milli-Kelvin for a 0.6 cm-1 spectral interval Specific Detectivity (D*): > 1010cm Hz0.5 W-1. The technologies solicited include (but are not necessarily limited to) large format detector arrays (500 x 500 and greater), individual element detectors, and antenna coupled devices. Partners selected under this synopsis would participate in the development of a proposal to the anticipated NASA Advanced Component Technology Research Announcement.

(2) Fabry-Perot Interferometer Component Development Projects Technical Point of Contact: Dr. William B. Cook, (757)864-8331, The long-term objective of this effort is the development of new technology which enhances the effectiveness of Fabry-Perot etalon instruments for remote sensing applications. For the ACTP we plan two projects: 1) improving the sensitivity of an etalon-based spectrometer by developing novel detector technology which makes use of the unique properties of the etalon transmission function, and 2) improving the throughput of an etalon by developing ways to use very large area reflecting surfaces. Required areas of expertise are: detector fabrication (IR and visible wavelengths) with the ability and interest in producing arrays with unusual geometries; and employment of PZT-based control techniques of large etalons for spectral scanning and alignment. Significant experience with construction and alignment of etalons is highly desirable for the second project. Potential ACTP partners must demonstrate the capabilities and experience to provide spectrometer subsystems and systems associated with Fabry-Perot interferometers in support of remote sensing applications. They must work collaboratively with government representatives and other potential industry and academic partners to perform some or all of the following tasks (note that not all tasks will be performed for both projects): m Design and produce detector arrays meeting unusual geometrical specifications including the employment of elements of differing sizes within the same array, and elements with curved structure m Produce control and signal acquisition electronics for the prototype array detectors m Construct a large-diameter breadboard PZT-controlled etalon or system of etalons m Model the performance of proposed etalon systems, especially the effects of natural and induced mechanical defects within the etalon m Develop and optimize control algorithms for etalons employing many (>3) PZT spacers m Analyze the results of laboratory measurements made using spectrometer systems incorporating the new components and techniques.

(3) Advanced 2 Microns Detector Development for Laser Remote Sensing Applications Technical Point of Contact: Dr. Nurul Abedin, 757-864-4814, Science Point of Contact: Dr. Syed Ismail, 757-864-2719, NASA Langley Research Center is assembling a spread system to demonstrate DIAL/Lidar remote sensing instrument in the laboratory. The spread system will be designed to test instrument concepts and technology in preparation for the development of a flight instrument. This DIAL/Lidar instrument requires an advanced avalanche photodiode to operate at moderate temperatures and large area detection for long-term lidar remote sensing at 2 mm and longer wavelengths. The development of advanced avalanche photodiode will enhance the capabilities to study CO2 profiling and global winds, detect wind shear for airline safety, aerosol and cloud profiling, water vapor profiling, atmospheric pollutants monitoring (CO, etc.), and detection of a large number of species in the near and mid-IR using active and passive remote sensing techniques. NASA Langley Research Center is looking for potential partners from university and industry to develop large area photodetector with a 5 mm cutoff wavelength optimized for an operating temperature of -20o C. Establish the highest operating temperature such that the desired device will meet the minimum requirements shown below: ; Large Format (30 elements), ; Collecting Area for each Element ~ 400 mm, ; Bandwidth m 5 GHz, ; Responsivity 2.00 mm m 60 A/W, ; Quantum efficiency 2.00 mm m 60%, and ; Noise equivalent power m10 -14 W/mHz.

(4) Multi-Color Semiconductor Device Technology Development Technical Point of Contact: Dr. Nurul Abedin, 757-864-4814, Science Point of Contact: Dr. Joseph M. Zawodny, (757) 864-2681, Multi-band imaging technologies are employed in a wide range of space-borne and air-borne applications for remote sensing. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Instrument is developed based-on multi-band detectors for NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS). This instrument is covering the range from 0.4 mm to 14.4 mm with 36 bands. A three bands imaging instrument is called Geostationary Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS) that will provide images from 0.4 – 14.6 mm with high spectral resolutions. In addition, Gas and Aerosol Monitoring Sensorcraft (GAMS) has three bands that will cover the range from 0.4 – 1.6 mm. Each of the spectral bands is used to monitoring earth and atmospheric constituents. NASA Langley Research Center is looking for potential partners from university and industry to develop technology, such as multi-color detector arrays from 0.4 mm to 15 mm. The ultimate goal is to be able to integrate practically all of the electronics required into a single integrated circuit (I.C.). This I.C. should have a three-dimensional architecture with signal detection and processing function integrated. To realize the multi-color detectors, technique should be developed to grow device quality layers on any arbitrary substrates. The proposed goal of this study is to develop high quality multi-color devices such that the desired device will meet the following steps: ; Study Phase-evaluate options and identify preferred materials systems ; Evaluate different growth methods ; Material growth and evaluation ; Fabrication of devices and device characterization ; Final fabrication of multi-color detector arrays.

(5) Lightweight Deployable Technologies for Synthetic Thinned Array Radiometry (STAR) Technical Point of Contact: Jessica Woods-Vedeler, (757) 864-2829, Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) has identified space-time variability of soil moisture, along with global precipitation as the highest priority science questions for their Post-2002 mission set in Hydrology and Mesoscale Weather. A soil moisture measurement mission requiring 3 day repeat global mapping at 10 km spatial resolution has been identified as part of the Post-2002 mission set. A large synthetic aperture microwave radiometer at L-Band is recognized as a candidate instrument concept for providing this measurement. An aperture size of in the 30 m class is required to produce the 10 km spatial resolution over the full swath. Lightweight deployment systems may provided the necessary “Packing Density” to enable a spacecraft concept which has the required aperture size while being consistent with nominal launch vehicles. Langley Research Center is seeking partners in the development of new lightweight boom technologies to enable the development of a 30-meter class Synthetic Thinned Array Radiometer (STAR) instrument. The proposal will develop, new boom deployment concepts, receiver phase calibration technology, and integrated structural/receiver concepts to enable 30 meter class STAR arrays. Potential partners must demonstrate capabilities and experience in the development of advanced lightweight structures technology for space based applications. They must work collaboratively with government representatives and other potential industry and academic partners to perform one or more of the following tasks: ; Develop advanced deployment and packing concepts for lightweight spacecraft structures. ; Develop construction techniques and material selection to enable on orbit deployment of lightweight booms and survive long term exposure to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) environment. ; Fabricate and provide partial testing of test article to verify the structural and/or integrated structural-electromagnetic performance of the developed technology. ; Develop low power MMIC receiver front-end for L-band Integrated STAR Array.

(6) Hybrid-CCD linear detector array for the Near IR Technical Point of Contact: Dr. Joseph M. Zawodny, (757) 864-2681, NASA Langley Research Center has an ongoing effort to advance technologies relating to space based remote sensing using the solar occultation technique. The Gas and Aerosol Monitoring Sensor (GAMS) team at Langley just completed an IIP investigation that demonstrated a silicon Hybrid-CCD linear array detector. Operating in the 400-1000nm spectral region, this detector boasts a 20 million electron full well with a pixel pitch of only 10 micrometers with a demonstrated signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in excess of 14-bits. NASA Langley Research Center seeks partners from university and industry to develop materials and production techniques that result in detectors with similar performance while operating in the 1 to 6 micrometer spectral range. Individual detectors/materials may not need to operate over the full spectral range to prove useful, but they should cover at least a 3-micrometer portion of the spectral range. Other performance goals are as follows: ; 512 to 1024 element linear arrays, ; pixel pitch less than 15 micrometers, ; High, relatively uniform QE, ; Large full well in excess of 16 million electrons, ; SNR greater than 14-bits at 200Hz operation including dark current and read noise.

(7) Ultra-lightweight telescope for space-based lidars Technical Point of Contact: Dr. Farzin Amzajerdian, (757) 864-1533, NASA Earth Science Enterprise has identified several lidar remote sensing instruments for possible deployment in space over the next two decades. Most of these lidar instruments are envisioned to use high-quality meter-class telescopes. The telescope along with the laser transmitter is the driver of the total mass, size, and cost of these instruments. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the weight of the meter-class telescope in order to meet the programmatic constraints and remain affordable for space launch. Furthermore, some of the lidar instruments require rotating the telescope, in order to scan the laser beam about the nadir, which imposes further constraints on the weight of the telescope. While a number of methods for telescope weight reduction have been demonstrated, many of the current approaches rely on exotic materials and specialized manufacturing techniques that limit availability or substantially increase costs. This proposed activity concentrates on advanced designs and novel fabrication techniques that can drastically reduce the telescope mass while allowing the use of commercial materials and equipment to keep the cost low.

(8) Integrated Optical Heterodyne Receiver Technical Point of Contact: Dr. Farzin Amzajerdian, (757) 864-1533, Micro fabrication of optical systems and integration of optical and electronic components at wafer level has recently attracted a great deal of attention within several industries such as telecommunication and data storage. We have recognized the potential of integrated opto-electronic technology in enabling low-cost, high efficiency, space-based coherent lidar instruments. Coherent lidars are powerful instruments capable of meeting several NASA objectives that have been identified within the Earth Science, Aerospace Technology, and the Human Exploration and Development Enterprises. NASA LaRC is seeking partners for the development of integrated opto-electronic receivers for coherent lidars operating in the near-IR region of spectrum centered about 2 micron wavelength with a bandwidth of several GHz. The Integrated Optical Heterodyne Receiver combines several of the lidar optical and electronic components on a single wafer. These components include optical signal routing and conditioning optics, detectors, local oscillator diode laser, and electronic amplifiers and mixers.

(9) Tunable Optical Filter Technologies Technical Point of Contact: Natalie Clark, (757) 864-5662, Hyperspectral imaging technologies are employed in a wide range of space-borne and air-borne applications for remote sensing. Other applications include mass spectroscopy and Gas and Aerosol Monitoring in which each the spectral bands are used for monitoring earth and atmospheric constituents. Tunable optical filters offer the potential for a single instrument satisfying multiple needs. Moreover, MOEMs (Optical Micro-Electro Mechanical) technologies offer advantages in size, weight, cost and power consumption. NASA Langley Research Center is looking for potential partners from university and industry to develop MOEMs based tunable optical filter technologies – especially tunable Fabry Perot etalon that are tunable in regions of the UV, visible and/or infrared spectrum. The ultimate goal is to be able to integrate practically all of the MOEMs device and electronics required into a single multichip module. The proposed goal of this study is to develop high quality spectrally tunable devices such that the desired device will meet the following steps: ; Study Phase-evaluate options and identify preferred materials systems ; Evaluate different MOEMs processes ; Fabrication of devices and device modeling and characterization ; Final fabrication of arrays of MOEMs devices.

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SpaceRef staff editor.