Assured Space Sensor Operation in Harsh Electromagnetic/RF Environment
ABSTRACT: Under this SBIR, Imaging Systems Technology (IST) proposes to investigate the feasibility of using its Plasma-shell technology to form novel engineered materials (metamaterials) for electromagnetic protection (EP) of space systems. The specific research to be performed under this proposal is to develop and numerically simulate a metamaterial-like structure that consists of a two layer frequency selective surface (FSS). The FSS consists of two metal layers perforated with tuned apertures bonded to a dielectric substrate. The gap between the two metal layers will be an array of tiny, hollow, gas encapsulating structures called Plasma-shells. Plasma-shells are a rugged building block that have many properties desirable for operation in harsh space environments. When exposed to electric fields, the gas in these shells creates an enclosed plasma discharge. The encapsulated plasma will absorb, reflect, or transmit incident RF radiation. By controlling the plasma electron density encapsulated in these shells, the apertures of the FSS can be effectively closed, shielding sensitive sensors from incident electromagnetic (EM) threats. The proposed structure will be numerically simulated and optimized to estimate device performance across frequency and temperature, and to predict sensor performance. Simulations will be validated with basic experiments. BENEFIT: Reliable space systems, including satellites, provide a significant opportunity to advance man's ability to communicate information and to observe conditions on the ground using advanced sensor systems. Satellites are an important part of modern communication and information procurement for both Government and commercial entities. Governmental uses of space based sensor systems include Defense, Communications, and Homeland Security. Commercial industries that rely heavily on satellites include Oil and Gas exploration, Mining, Telecommunications, Disaster relief, Construction, and Media and Broadcasting. Space systems are vulnerable to damaging levels of electromagnetic (EM) radiation from unintentional sources such as high-power tracking radars during launch and co-site interference from nearby transmitters, and intentional sources such as high-power microwave (HPM) and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons and high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) bursts from nuclear explosions. Current methods of EM protection include plasma limiters, solid state devices, various coatings, and micro electro mechanical (MEMs) devices. Each of these technologies has limitations. The use of Plasma-shells as described in this proposal represents a significant opportunity to improve the state of the art of space-based EM protection by leveraging the advantages of Plasma-shells over current technologies.
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Imaging Systems Technology
4750 W. Bancroft Toledo, OH -
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