Durable Integrated Circuit (IC) Chips for Extreme Environments

Organization: NASA Glenn Research Center
Year: 2018

Durable Integrated Circuit (IC) Chips for Extreme Environments are, durable integrated circuit (IC) chips, made from silicon carbide (SiC), that enable intelligent systems in a revolutionary new range of applications and environments. The ability of these novel durable ICs to withstand extremely high temperatures for long periods of time means IC technology can now, for the first time, provide long-lasting 350°C to 500°C integrated circuitry to enhance operations. Furthermore it can be applied in extreme conditions that are as yet untapped. Traditional ICs made of silicon have become a backbone throughout our modern world, and are used in computers, smart phones, medical equipment and more. Similarly, existing “high temperature” electronics that function up to 250°C have for years improved aircraft and automobile engines, gas/oil/geothermal welldrilling, and other industrial systems. Until now, these high-temperature applications have been missing out on gains that would be enabled by ICs functioning durably at temperatures of 350°C–500°C. In particular, cutting-edge NASA missions, such as the first long-duration exploration of Venus have not had access to ICs that can successfully function for months or years in such an extreme environment. This technology has demonstrated prolonged stable operation beyond 10,000 hours (over a year) of continuous operation at 500°C, dwarfing the durability-attemperature performance of any existing semiconductor technology.

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