SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  N102-121 (Navy)
Title:  Carbon Nanotube Coaxial Transmission Lines
Research & Technical Areas:  Air Platform, Sensors

Acquisition Program:  PMA-231 E-2 / C-2 Program Office
  Objective:  Develop Carbon Nanotube (CNT) based coaxial transmission line technology for high-power ultra high frequency (UHF) airborne radar applications.
  Description:  High-volume production of CNT based macrostructures in the form of conductive fiber and sheets has matured to the point that it may be possible to replace conventional copper-based high-speed data cable and radio frequency (RF) transmission lines. Presently CNT sheets can provide the same shielding effectiveness as 2 copper braids. Traditional coaxial cables have the bulk of their weight in shielding. Weight reductions of 40-50% could be achieved through successful development and use of CNT for shielding and center conductor material. In addition, CNT based transmission lines may produce less RF attenuation than comparable copper lines and more efficiently conduct away heat in high-power applications. The primary near term applications of interest is the development of CNT based RF coaxial transmission lines suitable for use in a multi-channel, high-power airborne UHF radar system. Coaxial transmission lines in this application are subjected to temperature extremes, very high electrical currents, mechanical stress and vibration. The CNT based coaxial transmission lines would replace both rigid and flexible coaxial lines currently used.

  PHASE I: Develop the proposed concept and demonstrate through detailed analysis and modeling whether proposed CNT based coaxial transmission lines can significantly out perform conventional copper based coaxial transmission lines in high-power UHF airborne radar applications. Identify major technical challenges that if not addressed would limit the suitability of this technology and estimate which technical challenges pose the greatest technical and cost risk.
  PHASE II: Develop a prototype CNT based coaxial cable whose electrical and mechanical characteristics are suitable for use in the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye APY-9 Airborne Early Warning Radar System. Evaluate critical cable characteristics through extensive testing and correct deficiencies. Address manufacturing issues that may limit high-volume producibility and affordability.

  PHASE III: Transition the technology to the Fleet through a collaboration with the weapon system prime contractor. PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/

  DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: A very wide range of potential private sector applications exist including high efficiency RF transmission lines, electrical power transmission lines, high-speed data bus lines.

  References:   1. Davis, Virginia A. et. Al. “True solutions of single-walled carbon nanotubes for assembly into macroscopic materials” Nature Nanotechnology 4, 830 – 834, 1 November 2009. 2. Nie, Zhihong, “Properties and emerging applications of self-assembled structures made from inorganic nanoparticles”, Nature Nanotechnology 5, 15 – 25, 24 December 2009.

Keywords:  Carbon Nanotube; Coaxial Transmission Lines; Radar Systems; High-Power RF; UHF Radar; Electronic Scanned Arrays

Questions and Answers:
Q: What frequency range does the transmission line need to be characterized over?
A: 400-450 MHz.

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