Miniaturized Time Domain Terahertz Non Destructive Evaluation for In-Orbit Inspection of Inflatable Habitats and Thermal Protection Systems

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$585,361.00
Award Year:
2012
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
NNX12CA81C
Agency Tracking Number:
105846
Solicitation Year:
2010
Solicitation Topic Code:
X5.04
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
Picometrix, LLC
MI, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104-6765
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
788133387
Principal Investigator:
David Zimdars
Principal Investigator
(734) 864-5639
dzimdars@picometrix.com
Business Contact:
Marsha Gilbert
Business Official
(734) 864-5611
mgilbert@picometrix.com
Research Institution:
Stub




Abstract
Picometrix's time-domain terahertz (TD-THz) non-destructive evaluation (NDE) technology could be used to inspect space flight structures such as inflatable space habitats, thermal protection systems (TUFI-type tiles, SOFI TPS), for voids, disbonds, and damage such as tearing and micron-meteorite impact. The current instrumentation paradigm is that a multi-purpose TD-THz control unit is used to provide common drive, data acquisition, and analysis functionality to interchangeable sensors and imaging which connect to the control unit with a fiber-optic/electrical umbilical. However, the current COTS control unit is substantially larger and heavier than would be desirable for a space-flight capable unit. In Phase II we will construct a prototype compact TD-THz control unit with a fiber optically coupled remote compact TD-THz reflection tomography sensor based on the Phase I designs. At the end of a successful Phase II, and transitioned into Phase III, we envision that a hand-held A or B-Scan NDE imager could attach to a control unit, sufficiently robust for spaceflight, no larger than a shoebox. In Phase II, it should be possible to reduce the size of the control unit to approximately 1/3 of the current values to, for example, 14 in. X 10 in. X 4 in. and 15 pounds.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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