Ultra-Low-Cost Magnetic Sensors for Submarine Detection

Period of Performance: 06/05/2003 - 01/05/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

NVE Corp. (formerly Nonvolatile Electron
11409 Valley View Rd.
Eden Prairie, MN 55441
Principal Investigator


This work seeks to develop ultra-low-cost antisubmarine surveillance devices based on NVE Corporation's mass-producible solid-state magnetic sensor technology. The sensors will be used in shallow littoral waters to protect against surprise attack by enemy submarines. NVE's spin-dependent tunneling sensors are fabricated using thin-film processing techniques that are compatible with semiconductor manufacturing processes and will allow wafer-scale integration with electronic circuitry. The resulting integrated sensor units, when produced in high volume, should be inexpensive enough to permit high-density distribution in the area to be protected. In this Phase I effort, we will produce two conceptual designs for mass-producible submarine detectors incorporating NVE's magnetic sensor, electronics, battery and acoustic transmitter. We will evaluate the technical feasibility of the magnetic tripwire approach as well as the feasibility and projected cost of a high-volume manufacturing process. Based on a preliminary manufacturing cost analysis, we expect to be able to manufacture the proposed devices for less than one dollar each. High-density application of ultra-low-cost sensors may be a cost effective alternative to current anti-submarine sonar systems used in shallow littoral regions. Similar systems may be used in terrestrial applications to protect against surprise attack on military installations or terrorist attack on civilian facilities. The fabrication technology developed under this program would also allow the integration of electronic compasses in power and cost sensitive consumer goods such as wristwatches and cellular telephones.