Carbon Nanotube (CNT) Based Electronic Components for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Award Information
Department of Defense
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
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Small Business Information
22207 Linda Drive, Torrance, CA, -
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Pochiang Chen
Scientific Lead
(323) 528-0987
Business Contact:
Kosmas Galatsis
(310) 874-3024
Research Institution:

We will undertake a Phase I study of CNT FET radio frequency devices for Low-Noise Amplifiers (LNA), Power Amplifiers (PA) and RF switches towards enhancing the reliability and efficiency of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Existing UAS electronic systems are bulky and inefficient (electrons operate in the diffusive transport regime). It is well defined that the key limiting factor of CNT RF transistor technology is the presence of metallic CNT that occurs during the CNT growth process. These metallic CNT components are responsible for unacceptable Ioff currents that cripple Ion/Ioff ratios and suffocates the electrostatic field effect on the semiconducting channel resulting in low transconductance (gm). Our approach to this SBIR Phase I is to increase device efficiency beyond III-V devices by evoking the CNT ballistic transport regime. In order to realize this goal we plan to (a) reduce metallic tubes by optimizing CNT aligned grow processes (b) increase CNT density for higher current capacity (uA/um) and (c) further optimize CNT FET device design and fabricate a LNA aiming to demonstrate positive gain. BENEFIT: The US Armed forces are embracing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as critical tools for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in some cases, also for strike missions in particular in counter-insurgency operations. Based on Visiongain"s research (, global spending in 2009 on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) reached $5.1bn. Over the forecast period of 2010-2020, the cumulative UAV market will total nearly $71bn. Within these systems a great dependence lies with advances in electronics, in particular where one could decrease weight, increase battery lifetime and reduce power consumption. This is where advances in low power, light and robust circuits developed within this project can make a dramatic impact to the performance of these UAS systems. In addition, advances from this proposal have the potential to revolutionize the $60 billion analog and mixed signal semiconductor markets. As an example of potential market size, Analog electronics (making use of CNT superior RF properties) sales were over $47 billion in 2009 (11.1 percent CAGR).

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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