NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 X1.03-9811
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Radiation Hardened/Tolerant and Low Temperature Electronics and Processors
PROPOSAL TITLE: Unconditionally Stable Low Dropout Regulators for Extreme Environments

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)
Seth Wilk
16411 N Skyrige Lane
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268 - 1515
(602) 703-3730

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We have developed a fully integrated LDO regulator using a patented transistor technology that can be manufactured in high volume commercial semiconductor foundries with no changes to the process flow. The regulator is stable under all load conditions without the need for an external compensation capacitor thereby reducing the mass/volume of the power management system and increasing reliability. The existing LDO component has very competitive figures of merit (dropout voltage, transient response, power supply rejection) compared to existing components targeting commercial consumer electronics. The work we are proposing for this Phase 1 activity will confirm the expected wide temperature range operation (-180C to +150C) and radiation tolerance (200krads(Si) to 1 Mrad(Si)) of the existing component. Based on these measurements we shall design, simulate and layout LDO regulators for nominal load currents of 100 mA and 1A for fabrication at two rad-hard CMOS foundries during a follow-on Phase 2 activity. The LDO regulators will be designed as drop-in replacements for many existing components. They can also be integrated directly on chip as part of an application specific integrated circuit thereby reducing the chip count still further.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Radiation tolerant low dropout regulators capable of operating in extreme environments with fewer external components will be of widespread use to NASA missions that target the moon, Mars and Europa. The LDO regulator is a key component in most power management systems including point-of-load supplies. By developing power management components for wide temperature range operation (-180C to +150C) we are enabling missions that will benefit from components mounted directly in the Lunar and Martian environments i.e. outside of any thermally controlled warm box. These components will also be of use in missions to Venus that employ environmental chambers with temperatures controlled to < 150C. The transistor technology we have developed shows very promising high frequency performance and therefore has potential NASA applications beyond power management. These include power amplifiers for X-band (5-10GHz) as well as for ultra-low power data telemetry from medical implants that target the Medical Implant Communications Service (MICS) at 403-405 MHz for monitoring astronaut health. Our metal-semiconductor-field-effect-transistor (MESFET) technology is capable of high voltage operation >>10V. NASA faces challenges with component obsolescence due to the reduction in supply voltage of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) with each new CMOS generation. Our MESFET component has the potential for extending the life of an ASIC product without the expense of a complete re-design.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Low dropout regulators are ubiquitous in commercial consumer electronics and automotive systems. A non-hardened version of the regulator we are proposing to develop will be inexpensive to manufacture using high volume commercial CMOS foundries. Our business models suggest that such a component can be manufactured at a cost per die that is competitive with existing products but without the need for an external compensation capacitor thereby reducing the overall costs and part count of the power management system. If this is confirmed our regulator component has the potential for widespread commercial adoption. Other non-NASA commercial applications of our patented transistor technology include low power transceivers for medical implants that use the FCC approved MICS band as well as for data telemetry within the Industrial, Scientific & Medical (ISM) bands. Our MESFET technology is capable of higher voltage operation than the CMOS transistors making it very suitable as the input/output device in commercial ASICs such as those offered by Honeywell and our other Phase 3 commercialization partners.

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.

Power Management and Distribution
Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics

Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14