Nokomis, Inc., a member of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, is pleased to announce the award of a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a project titled “Slot Coupled Array Antenna Technology” in the amount of $100,000. The six month project focuses on the development of digitally controlled “smart antennas” to be conformally mounted on the surface of aeronautical vehicles.

Nokomis was founded in 2002 to provide advanced technical solutions to the defense industry. The company is a HUBZone certified small business with headquarters located in Charleroi, PA (Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district).

One of the company’s areas of expertise is in low profile, conformal antenna design. Nokomis’ designs are used in military and non-military systems. The company has a proven track record of successful execution and transition of SBIR funded technology through previous awards from NASA, the Air Force, Army, Navy, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and National Science Foundation (NSF).

The digitally controlled antenna arrays for this NASA SBIR enhance the ability to develop and steer antenna beams using antenna structures that are conformal to aeronautical vehicles. A focused beam reduces signal to noise ratio which increases signal quality. This provides greater communication range and bandwidth for a wireless system. Aside from a physical antenna design that will need to perform in both launch and deep space environments, algorithms that perform the beam forming will be developed by Nokomis.

The SBIR program provides funding to small businesses for exploring high return on investment technologies. The research conducted during this SBIR program will result in a technology that not only provides advanced conformal antenna capability for aeronautical vehicles, but will also have potential applications in areas like cellular base stations, WiFi systems, and airport infrastructure and safety.