NASA SBIR 2002 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02-II S4.07-8408 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 023591 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Deep Space Power Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: SiGe Semiconductor Devices for High-Performance Cryogenic Power Electronics

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN: (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
GPD Optoelectronics Corp.
7 Manor Parkway
Salem , NH   03079 - 3065
(603 ) 894 - 6865

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Rufus Ward
7 Manor Parkway
Salem , NH   03079 - 3065
(603 ) 894 - 6865

We propose to continue development of power semiconductor devices (diodes and transistors) for power-management and actuator-control circuits operating at cryogenic temperatures. Cryogenic power electronics can provide important benefits both for space and commercial applications: higher efficiency, reduced size, weight and complexity, and improved system reliability. Of primary importance to spacecraft is reduction or elimination of thermal control and its attendant power usage, weight, size and added electronics. We propose using the silicon-germanium (SiGe) materials system because of its powerful design flexibility, compatibility with silicon processing, and ability to combine desirable features of both silicon and germanium. Conventional Si-based electronics has not proved adequate for deep-cryogenic temperature (down to 30 K) power applications, whereas SiGe operates well down to these cryogenic temperatures. In Phase I we successfully fabricated metal-insulator-semiconductor (MIS) structures and heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBT), which are essential elements of advanced power devices to be developed in Phase II. The proposed SiGe cryogenic power devices are an innovation because there are presently no power semiconductor devices based on SiGe and designed for cryogenic applications.

Upcoming NASA missions to the outer planets and satellites, asteroids, and other sites will encounter extremely cold environments, down to the deep cryogenic range (as low as 40 K). Cryogenic electronics can eliminate or reduce the need for thermal control and thus reduce spacecraft size, weight, power usage and the associated electronics. Also, it will enable greater mobility and lifetime for surface exploration craft, as well as reducing their thermal impact on the environment. Cryogenic electronics is also needed for space-based observatories that depend on cryogenics, such as the Next-Generation Space Telescope. Actuators for the deformable optical systems will operate at deep cryogenic temperatures, and the drive electronics should operate in the same cryogenic environment.

Potential application areas in the industrial, commercial and defense sectors include magnetic resonance imaging, energy storage (inductive or capacitive), cryogenic or superconducting power transmission and distribution, cryogenic or superconducting motors and generators, magnetic confinement, particle accelerators, aerospace vehicles, and radio-frequency power amplifiers. These applications can benefit from improved efficiency of cryogenic power electronics and reduced size and weight. Many of these are natural application areas because they already incorporate a cryogenic environment. Also, cryogenic temperatures around 30 K have received additional emphasis by the recent discovery of superconductivity in MgB2, which promises to be a practical material for both electronic and large-scale applications.

Form Printed on 10-03-03 11:34