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Photonics Automation Specialties Receives Small Business Innovation Research Phase I Award from NASA

Posted on June 22, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. - Photonics Automation Specialties, LLC. (PAS,, announced that it has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from NASA. The 6-month Phase I contract will fund the development of core sensor technologies to create sustainable measurement capabilities to support NASA’s Earth Science Program.

The instrument itself will measure the hyperspectral volume scattering function (VSF) of water.  It will use a multichannel spectrometer to take thousands of data samples over the ultraviolet-visible range at various angles from a volume of water.  Scientists and engineers will be able to quickly analyze the result and discern the optical characteristics and particulate/impurity levels in the water.  This will be an order of magnitude improvement over the current state of the art both in wavelength collection range and in speed of data acquisition.

Applications include ocean/lake particulate monitoring, water quality testing, and other water sampling applications.  One of the most exciting applications is with the instrument integrated into autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).  With no moving parts to wear out, the instrument will be ideal for remote deployments in inhospitable locations.

“We are excited to help NASA drive this innovation. This instrument will provide an extra spectral dimension of data for scientists to see and analyze. For PAS, it will enhance our understanding of how to integrate hyperspectral analysis into our product lines and will open new markets for us. This will further enhance the support we deliver to the scientific community” said Jerry Knight-Rubino, founder of PAS.  “With our combination of photonics innovation, flexibility, and multi-disciplinary expertise, we are both honored and excited to provide this full solution to NASA and show what we’re capable of.”



About Photonics Automation Specialties, LLC

Photonics Automation Specialties, LLC, is based in Tucson and develops laser test technologies such as laser burn-in racks, laser test stations, and standalone photonics instruments. Their new line of small-footprint laser burn-in racks is targeted at customers with limited clean-room space.  PAS' founders have more than half a century’s combined experience in building test equipment for the laser industry.  Learn more at .



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