Thermo-Electric Cooling (TEC) of a Low Noise Amplifier (LNA)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00039-06-C-0031
Agency Tracking Number: N031-0364
Amount: $599,999.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: N03-103
Solicitation Number: 2003.1
Small Business Information
27 Drydock Avenue, Boston, MA, 02210
DUNS: 187659425
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jerry Foshage
 Program Manager
 (617) 897-2439
Business Contact
 William O'Donnell
Title: VP, General Manager
Phone: (617) 897-2400
Research Institution
Low Noise Amplifiers (LNAs), used in communications, radio astronomy and radar applications exhibit improved performance when cooled to low temperatures (100oK). Range improvement of 20% and a 10x improvement in sensitivity can be obtained by cooling an LNA to 100K. However, use of Cryogenic fluids is problematic in many applications. Pulse tube coolers have been used to successfully cool LNAs to 100oK but are not considered desirable for shipboard communications applications. Solid-state cooling devices or Thermo Electric Coolers (TECs) are also used, but have been limited to higher temperature operation. Recent advancements in the ZT figure of merit for TEC materials, structure and fabrication technology, including thin films and quantum wells offer the potential to achieve 100oK-operating temperatures. This Phase II effort builds on our Thermoelectric Cooler (TEC) technology experience by: · Identifying LNA Application and Performance Requirements · Evaluating Several Advanced TCE Technologies, their Readiness and Applicability · Selecting Appropriate TEC Technologies and Cooler Structure for the LAN Application · Specifying, Designing, Building and Testing Prototype Hardware · Mitigating technical risk leading to production of flight hardware · Supporting integration into shipboard communications equipment The result of Phase II will be a low cost, low volume, active cooling prototype unit. A modular package compatible with shipboard communications electronics enclosures is proposed as a baseline design. A multi-stage cooler is anticipated employing a hybrid bulk and thin film or quantum well TEC technology, to meet the LNA cooling requirements. Forced convection, air-cooling is proposed to sink the heat generated by the package. BENEFITS: It is anticipated that the first application of the proposed thermal cooler approach will be in Navy shipboard communications. The cooler technology can then be applied to RADAR, spacecraft thermal management systems and radio astronomy.

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

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