Integrated circuits used in exploration systems for data acquisition and storage are overwhelmingly based on silicon electronics. These electronics stop operating properly at temperatures above 175C due to high off-state junction leakages. Silicon-on-insulator variants of this technology push this limit further to roughly 250C; however, Venus surface exploration systems, gas giant probes, and solar orbiters require electronics that can operate above these temperature values.
Wide bandgap semiconductor technologies naturally offer a possibility of proper electrical operation in the high temperature range. This is due to their relatively low background carrier concentration levels not overwhelming the intentional dopant levels, and thus rendering electrical junctions intact at high temperatures. Among these technologies, silicon carbide offers the most mature wide bandgap technology in terms of wafer quality, size, and processing.
To extend operational and exploration capabilities, and mission lifetimes, a high temperature tolerant semiconductor technology is needed. CoolCAD’s silicon carbide (SiC) CMOS technology provides an integrated circuit solution that can readily scale to more and more complex integrated circuits for operation in harsh environments.
We propose design, layout and fabrication of a high temperature data logger using our SiC CMOS technology. This data logger would expand capabilities of high temperature sensing platforms, by offering a hardware for environmental readings that have been taken to be stored digitally until they are ready to be uploaded for processing.
A high temperature datalogger is required for a high temperature capable smart sensing platform, with which exploration capabilities in challenging environments can be greatly enhanced. Our target is to significantly extend the bounds of currently available exploration and data acquisition systems in terms of both sensing and in situ data logging/processing in extreme environments.
Venus surface exploration systems, as well as solar and gas giant probes and orbiters require electronics that can operate at high temperatures. The proposed work would provide a high temperature and radiation tolerant solution that relieves cooling and shielding needs. It would pave the way for building a high temperature smart sensing and data acquisition platform. The overarching goal is to develop a high temperature system with data logging capabilities to enhance exploration capabilities of NASA in extreme environments
The applications of high temperature electronics are numerous. They range from niche DoD applications with high temperature device needs to large scale applications. An example possible DoD high temperature device use is related to hypersonic aviation. And an example large scale high temperature device use is related to sensor systems around the engine and exhaust system of automobiles.