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FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR

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Agency: Department of Energy
Program/Year: Both / 2014
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000969
Release Date: August 12, 2013
Open Date: August 12, 2013
Close Date: October 15, 2013
Description: The Office of Nuclear Physics is interested in supporting projects that may lead to advances in detection systems, instrumentation, and techniques for nuclear physics experiments. Opportunities exist for developing equipment beyond the present state-of-the-art at universities and national user facilities, including the Argonne Tandem Linac System (ATLAS) at Argonne National Laboratory. In addition, a new suite of next-generation detectors will be needed for the 12 GeV Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) Upgrade at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (TJNAF), a future facility for rare isotope beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University, detector and luminosity upgrades at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Lab, and a possible future electron-ion collider. Also of interest is technology related to future experiments in fundamental symmetries, such as neutrinoless double-beta decay experiments and the measurement of the electric dipole moment of the neutron, where extremely low background and low count rate particle detection are essential. This topic seeks state-of-the-art targets for applications ranging from spin polarized and unpolarized nuclear physics experiments to stripper and production targets required at high-power, advanced, rare isotope beam facilities. Lastly, this topic seeks new and improved techniques and instrumentation to cope with the high radiation environments anticipated for FRIB. All grant applications must explicitly show relevance to the nuclear physics program.
b: Development of Novel Fas and Solid-State Detectors
Description: Nuclear physics research has the need for devices to track charged particles, and neutral particles such as neutrons and photons. Items of interests are detectors with high energy resolution for low-energy applications, high precision tracking of different types of particles, and fast triggering capabilities. The subtopic announcements are grouped into solid-state devices and novel gas detectors. Grant applications are sought to develop novel gamma-ray detectors, including, 1) position-sensitive photon tracking devices for nuclear structure and astrophysics applications, as well as associated technology for these devices. High-resolution germanium or scintillator detectors capable of determining the position (to within a few millimeters utilizing pulse shape analysis) and energy of individual interactions of gamma-rays (with energies up to several MeV), hence allowing for the reconstruction of the energy and path of individual gamma-rays using tracking techniques, are of particular interest; 2) techniques for increasing the volume and-or area, or improving the performance of Ge detectors, or for substantial cost reduction of producing large-mass Ge detectors; and 3) alternative materials, with comparable resolution to germanium, but with higher efficiency and room- temperature operation. Grant applications are sought to develop advances in the general field of solid-state devices for tracking of charged particles and neutrons, such as silicon drift, strip, and pixel detectors, along with 3D silicon devices. Approaches of interest include: Manufacturing techniques, including interconnection technologies for high granularity, high resolution, light-weight, and radiation-hard solid state devices; Thicker (more than 1.5 mm) segmented silicon charged-particle and x-ray detectors and associated high density, high resolution electronics; Cost-effective production of large-area n-type and p-type silicon drift chambers; Novel, low-noise cooling devices for efficiently operating silicon drift chambers; Low mass active-pixel sensors with thickness ~50m and large area Si pixel and strip detectors with thickness <200 m. Segmented solid state devices for neutron detection, with integrated electronics; Grant applications are sought in the general field of micropattern gas detectors. This includes: New developments in micro-channel plates; micro-strip, Gas Electron Multipliers (GEMs), Micromegas and other types of micro-pattern detectors; Commercial and cost effective production of GEM foils or thicker GEM structures; Micro-pattern structures, such as fine meshes used in Micromegas; High-resolution multidimensional readout such as 2D readout planes; Systems and components for large area imaging devices using Micromegas technology associated with the read-out of a high number of channels (typically ~10,000), which requires the development of printed circuit boards that have superior surface quality to minimize gain fluctuations and sparking. Grant applications are sought for the advancement of more conventional gas tracking detector systems, including drift chambers, pad chambers, time expansion chambers, and time projection chambers such as: Gas-filled tracking detectors such as straw tubes (focusing on automated assembly and wiring techniques), drift tube, proportional, drift, and streamer detectors; Improved gases or gas additives that resist aging, improved detector resolution, decreased flammability and larger, more uniform drift velocity; Application of CCD cameras for optical readout in Time-Projection Chambers; New developments for fast, compact TPCs. Gamma-ray detectors capable of making accurate measurements of high intensities (>1011 -s) with a precision of 1-2 %, as well as economical gamma-ray beam-profile monitors; Components of segmented bolometers with high-Z material (e.g., W, Ta, Pb) for gamma ray detection with segmentation, capable of handling 100 -1000 gamma rays per second; Finally, grant applications are sought to develop detector systems for rare isotope beams with focus on: Next-generation, high-spatial-resolution focal plane detectors for magnetic spectrometers and recoil separators; High-rate, position-sensitive particle tracking and timing detectors for heavy-ions. Of interest are detectors with single-particle detection capability at a rate of 107 particles per second, a timing resolution of better than 0.25 ns, spatial resolution of better than 10 mm (in one direction) and minimal thickness variations (< 0.1 0.5 mg-cm2) over an active area of typically 1 20 cm. In addition, a successful design would maintain performance during continuous operation (at 107 s-1 particle rate) over multiple weeks. Arrays of diamond detectors would be a possible approach
c: Technology for Rare Decay and Rare Particle Detection
Description: Grant applications are sought for detectors and techniques for measuring very weak or rare event signals in the presence of significant backgrounds. Such detector technologies and analysis techniques are required in searches for rare events (such as double beta decay) and searches for new nuclear isotopes produced at radioactive-beam and high-intensity stable-beam facilities. Rare decay and rare event detectors require large quantities of ultra-clean materials for shielding and targets. Grant applications are sought to develop: Ultra-low background techniques and materials for supporting, cooling, cabling, and connecting high-density arrays of detectors (such as radio-pure signal cabling, signal and high voltage interconnects, vacuum feedthroughs, and front-end amplifier FET assemblies; purity goals are as low as 1 micro-Becquerel per kg); Ultra-sensitive assay or mass-spectrometry methods for quantifying contaminants in ultra-clean materials Cost-effective production of large quantities of ultra-pure liquid scintillators; Novel methods capable of distinguishing between interactions of gamma rays and charged particles in detectors; and Methods by which the background events in rare event searches, such as those induced by gamma rays or neutrons, can be tagged, reduced, or removed entirely.
d: High Performance Scintillators, Cherenkov Materials and Other Optical Components
Description: Nuclear physics research has the need for high performance scintillator and Cherenkov materials for detecting photons and charged particles over a wide range of energies (from a few keV to up to many GeV). These include crystalline scintillators (such as BGO, LSO, LYSO, BaF2, etc.) and liquid scintillators (both organic and cryogenic noble liquids) for measuring electromagnetic particles, plastic scintillators for measuring charged particles, and Cherenkov materials for particle identification. Many of these detectors require large area coverage and therefore cost effective methods for producing materials for practical devices. Grant applications are sought to develop: New high density scintillating crystals with high light output and fast decay times. Improved techniques for producing high purity cryogenic noble liquid scintillators (particularly argon and xenon) Ultra-high-purity organic liquid scintillators with various dopants Large-area, high optical quality Cherenkov materials Precision Cherenkov radiators for Detectors of Internally Reflected Cherenkov Light (DIRCs) Cherenkov materials with indices of refraction between gases and liquids (e.g., Aerogel) Scintillators and Cherenkov materials that can be used for particle discrimination using timing and pulse shape information (e.g., n-gamma separation, dual readout calorimetry, etc.) High light output plastic scintillating and wavelength-shifting fibers
e: Specialized Targets for Nuclear Physics Research
Description: Grant applications are sought to develop specialized targets, including: Polarized (with nuclear spins aligned) high-density gas or solid targets; Systems and components for frozen-spin active (scintillating) targets; Systems and components associated with liquid, gaseous, and solid targets capable of high power dissipation when high-intensity, low-emittance charged-particle beams are used; Very thin windows (<100 micrograms-cm2 and-or 50% transmission of 500 eV X-rays) for gaseous detectors, for the measurement of low-energy ions; and A positron-production target capable of converting hundreds of kilowatts of electron beam power (10 MeV at 10 mA) over a sufficiently short distance to allow for the escape of the produced positrons. Of particular interest would be moving and-or cooled high-Z targets of uniform, stable thickness (2-8 mm), which may be immersed in a 0.5-1.0 T axial magnetic field. Grant applications also are sought to develop the technologies and sub-systems for the targets required at high-power, rare isotope beam facilities that use heavy ion drivers for rare isotope production. Targets for heavy ion fragmentation and in-flight separation are required that are made of low-Z materials and that can withstand very high power densities and are tolerant to radiation. Interested parties should contact Dr. Wolfgang Mittig, NSCL-MSU Finally, grant applications are sought to develop techniques for: Production of thin films (in the thickness range from a few g-cm2 to over 10 mg-cm2) for charge-state stripping in heavy-ion accelerators; and Preparation of targets of radioisotopes, with half-lives in the range of hours, to be used off-line in both neutron-induced and charged-particle-induced experiments.
f: Technology for High Radiation Environments
Description: Next generation rare isotope beam facilities require new and improved techniques, instrumentations, and strategies to deal with the anticipated high radiation environment in the production, stripping, and transport of ion beams. These could also be useful for existing facilities. Therefore grant applications are sought to develop: Rotatary vacuum seals for applications in high-radiation environment: Vacuum rotary feedthroughs for high rotational speeds, which have a long lifetime under a high-radiation environment (order of months to years at 0.5-15 MGy-month), are highly desirable for the realization of rotating targets and beam dumps for rare isotope beam production and beam strippers in high-power heavy-ion accelerators. Radiation resistant multiple-use vacuum seals: Elastomer-based vacuum seals have a limited lifetime (~ 10^8 rad, or less, total absorbed dose) due to radiation damage in the high-radiation environment found in the target facility of FRIB and other high-power target facilities. Alternative multi-use vacuum vessel sealing solutions that provide extended lifetimes (> 108 rad) and are suitable for remote-handling applications are needed. It is preferred that the multi-use high radiation resistant sealing material does not require high clamping forces or high finish and tolerance sealing surfaces. Radiation resistant magnetic field probes based on new technologies: An issue in all high-power target facilities and accelerators is the limited lifetime of conventional nuclear magnetic resonance probes in high-radiation environments (0.1-10 MGy-y). The development of radiation-resistant magnetic field probes for 0.2-5 Tesla and a precision of dB-B<10-4 would be highly desirable. Improved models of radiation transport in beam production systems: The use of energetic and high-power heavy ion beams at future research facilities will create significant radiation fields. Radiation transport studies are needed to design and operate facilities efficiently and safely. Advances of radiation transport codes are desired for (a) the inclusion of charge state distributions of initial and produced ions including distribution changes when passing through material and magnetic fields, (b) efficient thick-shield, heat deposition, and gas production studies, (c) the implementation of new models of heavy ion radiation damage, and their validation against experimental data. Radiation tolerant sensors for video cameras: Cost efficient video sensors with resolutions of VGA (640 480 pixel) or better but with enhanced radiation tolerance for prolonged operation in the presence of neutron fluxes of about 105 n cm-2 s-1, would be beneficial in the operation and remote handling of equipment in radiation fields, e.g. at rare isotope production facilities.
g: Other
Description: In addition to the specific subtopics listed above, the Department invites grant applications in other areas that fall within the scope of the topic description above
h: Technology Transfer Opportunity: Nano Structural Anodes for Radiation Detectors
Description: Scientists at Savanna River National Laboratory (SRNL) have developed a boron-based nano-structured proportional counter (nano-PC) that will obviate the need for He3 in neutron detection. Moreover, the proposed device eliminates the need for high operating voltages and the use of step-up transformers by utilizing inherently high electrical field nanoscale anodes. In comparison with legacy detectors, this new nano-detector design will have a much lower operating voltage, a smaller power supply, enhanced portability, increased sensitivity to radiation, improved detection efficiency, and no need for He3. Applications for this Technology Transfer opportunity are sought to optimize prototype design and develop an integrated system demonstrating the feasibility for use of this detector.
i: Technology Transfer Opportunity: Low Power, High Energy Gamma Ray Detector Calibration Device
Description: Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory developed a low power, high-energy gamma ray detector calibration device that produces much higher energy gamma rays (10 MeV) than are possible with radioactive sources. The gamma ray spectrum can also be adjusted for various applications. These gamma rays have been calibrated by the LBNL Isotopes Project in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency and formerly could only be produced at nuclear reactors. The device is based on a low power neutron generator, which is inherently safe to operate. Unlike radioactive calibration sources the instrument can be switched off producing no radioactivity when not in use. The simple, compact design allows the calibrator to be used in the field and laboratories of almost any size as well as for calibrating large gamma ray detectors being developed for homeland security cargo screening and physics experiments. Applications for this Technology Transfer opportunity are sought to optimize prototype design and develop an integrated system demonstrating the feasibility for use of this detector.