NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Extreme Environment Electronics/SEE
PROPOSAL TITLE:SOI MESFETs for Extreme Environment Electronics

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
SJT Micropower
16411 N. Skyridge Lane
Fountain Hills ,AZ 85268 - 1515
(480) 816 - 8077

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joseph   Ervin
16411 N. Skyridge Lane
Fountain Hills, AZ  85268 -1515
(480) 816 - 8077

We are proposing a new extreme environment electronics (EEE) technology based on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) metal-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MESFETs). Our technology allows MESFETs to be fabricated using commercial SOI CMOS foundries with no expensive changes to the process flow. The MESFETs are radiation tolerant and the use of SOI substrates makes them SEU immune. They offer unique advantages compared to equivalent geometry MOSFETs including: i) higher operating frequencies in the ultra-low power regime; (ii) 10 ? 100X lower 1/f noise; (iii) high voltage operation (>20V). The MESFETs show excellent performance up to 200C, as do simulations down to ? 185C. The low-noise, high-speed (GHz) and ultra-low power capability of the SOI MESFETs makes them ideally suited for a variety of EEE mixed-signal circuits including analog-to-digital converters, low-noise amplifiers and voltage/current references for advanced sensor applications. The high voltage capability also suggests MESFET applications in power amplifier communication modules, as well as DC-DC converters in power management systems.

During Phase 1 we shall develop device models that describe MESFET operation over the temperature range ?180 to + 130C. The models will be calibrated against data taken from our existing MESFETs, and will operate within industry standard CAD tools. The models will be used to design and simulate an operational amplifier, a voltage controlled oscillator, a power amplifier and a low noise amplifier. The layout of the simulated designs will be completed during Phase 1, for fabrication during Phase 2 in partnership with a commercial foundry.

A low power, mixed-signal MESFET technology will be valuable to NASA wherever extreme environment electronics are required. This will include missions to the moon and Mars, where wide temperature swings will be experienced. Missions to Jupiter will benefit from the high radiation tolerance of the MESFETs. The low-power capability of the MESFETs will reduce the overall power consumption of spacecraft communication and sensing systems. The high voltage capability will be of use for advanced power management systems. The development of MESFETs for medical implants will benefit NASA through improved astronaut health monitoring. Because the MESFETs can be manufactured using commercial SOI CMOS processes, our technology is extremely affordable, and is compatible with the future scaling of SOI CMOS.

The MESFET technology we are developing will have widespread applications in commercial electronics, wherever low-power, mixed-signal circuits are required. Applications include the transceiver components of personal communication systems that will benefit from the low-noise, low-power, RF capability of the MESFET in the receive stage, and from the increased efficiency of the MESFET power amplifier in the transmit stage. MESFET component such as A/D converters and operational amplifiers will be of use in sensor networks and systems. The ultra-low power, RF capability of the MESFETs will be particularly useful in medical implants, such as pacemakers and artificial cochlea.

SOI MESFETs offer significant 'added-value' to existing SOI product lines because of their high voltage capability that greatly exceeds the maximum operating voltage of the SOI MOSFETs. This will allow new SOI products to be developed, without additional cost. Examples include multiplexors, DC-DC converters, voltage and current regulators etc.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Data Input/Output Devices
Portable Data Acquisition or Analysis Tools
Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors
Ultra-High Density/Low Power

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12