Ultra-wideband Direct Digitization Above 50 GHz for Earth Observing Satellites
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-063
ONR - Ms. Lore-Anne Ponirakis - loreanne.ponirakis@navy.mil
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-063 TITLE: Ultra-wideband Direct Digitization Above 50 GHz for Earth Observing Satellites

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Sensors, Electronics, Space Platforms


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate an analog to digital converter (ADC) ideally suited for use in WindSat Next. The ADC should be capable of direct-to-digital reception (no down conversion) over subbands no narrower than 20-50 GHz in the 50-200 GHz spectral range. There is a strong preference for approaches that do not require down conversion to produce these subbands, but rather only use analog filtering. Signal sensitivity should exceed -140 dBm for < 10 millisecond collects simultaneously over the entire range. Especially desirable are ADC designs proven capable to harvest digital signal processing gain, e.g. for signals with information bandwidths below 1 MHz, without dynamic range saturation.

DESCRIPTION: Radiometry missions such as WindSat need to access portions of the spectrum that are uncontaminated by man-made signals. Increasingly, the best place to look for such pristine territory is above 40 GHz. That frequency range is largely unused for non-local communications or other radio frequency (RF) functions except for certain frequency bands which have relatively little atmospheric absorption. Short range communications (e.g., WiFi) and collision avoidance radars operate in the 60 GHz range while active denial systems and radars operate in the 94 GHz range. Hence the atomic absorption related emission bands, especially between 50 and 62 GHz and around 183 GHz, are largely uncontaminated by man-made signals and are ideal for space-based, earth atmospheric composition studies. None of these higher bands are used by today's WindSat. High sample speed analog-to-digital reception is needed to produce a lack of signal frequency ambiguity due to under-sampling. Extreme sensitivity is required to see the originally weak and heavily attenuated thermal noise (signals as small as -190 dBm) from orbit.

Currently WindSat analog limits signals to << 1 GHz subbands and down converts all signals before digitizing. Hence, there are 10 sets of expensive hardware (multiple local oscillators, mixers, and filters) for the 5 subbands and in 2 polarizations. Wideband direct reception with high sensitivity will allow much simpler RF hardware to do a better job of providing the weather data required for optimal operational planning of deployed missions.

PHASE I: Phase I work shall complete the simulink level modeling of the ADC defined in the proposal description and refine at least one critical subcomponent design though the circuit simulation phase of design. The required Phase II plan at the end of the Phase I base award should include a complete discussion of the technical issues that must be addressed to yield a well-functioning ADC by the effort's end and a strategy and time scale for coping with each. The option, if awarded should address the next most critical design issue. If subbanding is proposed, discuss in the proposal how signals spanning the divide would be handled and their reception proven feasible in Phase I.

PHASE II: Employ a sequence of increasingly complete design/fabricate/test cycles to demonstrate and quantify full ADC performance in the frequency range above 50 GHz.

PHASE III: If Phase II is successful, the small business will provide support in transitioning the technology for Navy use in the WindSatNext program. The small business will support the Navy with certifying and qualifying the system for Navy use and confirm that the Navy engineers are maximizing the utility of the ADC design. When appropriate the small business will focus on scaling up manufacturing capabilities and commercialization plans.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Transient digitizers and high speed scopes are long time markets for such ADC. Instrumentation in the way of programmable frequency scan spectrometers for atomic and molecular physics is another established application called real time spectroscopy. Applications in things like explosives detection are also possible.

1. 56GSa/s 8-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter. http://www.fujitsu.com/downloads/MICRO/fma/pdf/56G_ADC_FactSheet.pdf

2. (CHAIS)ing the dream: 100 Gigasamples per second for Analog to Digital Converters. http://dsp-fpga.com/editors-choice/chaising-dream-gigasamples-per-second-analog-digital-converters/#

3. Amol Inamdar, Anubhav Sahu, Jie Ren, Aniruddha Dayalu, and Deepnarayan Gupta. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON APPLIED SUPERCONDUCTIVITY, VOL. 23, NO. 3, JUNE 2013.

4. H. Suzuki, M. Oikawa, K. Nishii, and M. Hidaka, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON APPLIED SUPERCONDUCTIVITY, VOL. 23, NO. 3, JUNE 2013.

KEYWORDS: Direct reception: under-sampling; analog to digital converters (ADC); radiometry; optical emission lines; high speed sampling

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