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Low-Loss Millimeter-Wave Isolators for Cryogenic Systems

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC19C0148
Agency Tracking Number: 185363
Amount: $749,610.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: S1
Solicitation Number: SBIR_18_P2
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-06-18
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-06-17
Small Business Information
20 South Roanoke Street, Suite 202
Fincastle, VA 24090-3102
United States
DUNS: 034119968
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 David Porterfield
 (434) 409-4044
Business Contact
 David Porterfield
Phone: (434) 409-4044
Research Institution

The primary objective of the proposed SBIR Phase II research is to extend the room temperature millimeter-wave (MMW) technology developed by Micro Harmonics to isolators operating at cryogenic temperatures. Two very successful cryogenic prototype devices at WR-10 (75-110 GHz) were designed in the Phase I effort. The measured insertion loss at 77 K is 0.3 dB and the isolation is greater than 25nbsp;dB across the band. In the Phase II program we propose to develop a line of cryogenic isolators optimized for cryogenic temperatures operating in every waveguide band from WR-15 through WR-5.1 and to deliver prototype devices at each band to NASA. We will also design cryogenic isolators for the WR-4.3 and WR-3.4 bands. These components will fill an unmet need and find immediate application in many cryogenic systems now being developed for NASA missions.Cryogenic cycling puts mechanical stresses on the constituent parts of the isolators that can ultimately lead to premature failure. Part of the proposed research is to identify and mitigate potential failure mechanisms so that the isolators can reliably withstand multiple cryogenic cycles over the lifetime of the device. This task is accomplished through sophisticated thermal stress modeling as well as repeated cryogenic cycling of the isolator assemblies.A WR-2.8 (260-400 GHz) isolator designed in the Phase I will be assembled and tested. This isolator will be the first of its kind at this frequency. A novel line of MMW voltage variable attenuators (VVA) will also be developed. The VVArsquo;s utilize the Faraday rotation effect in a similar way as the isolators, but with a variable magnetic bias field instead of a fixed saturated magnetic field. Initial investigations indicate that the effective attenuation range should be at least 1-35 dB in the WR-10 band. NASA researchers at JPL have expressed their interest in these devices.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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