NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-2 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) 510-0229

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Seth Wilk
16411 N. Skyridge Lane
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268 - 1515
(602) 703-3730

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 5
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We have developed a low dropout (LDO) regulator using a patented MESFET transistor technology that can be manufactured in commercial CMOS foundries with no changes to the process flow. The regulator is stable under all load conditions without an external compensation capacitor, thereby reducing the mass/volume of the power management system and increasing reliability. The MESFET-based LDO component has very competitive figures of merit (dropout voltage, transient response, power supply rejection) compared to existing components. During Phase 1 we confirmed that the components were unconditionally stable without an external compensation capacitor over the temperature range -196C to +150C and for radiation doses up to 1 Mrad(Si). We shall build on the Phase 1 design effort to demonstrate two fully integrated LDO regulators rated up to 1A with dropout voltages of less than 50 mV. One part will be fabricated using a qualified rad-hard SOI CMOS foundry in collaboration with Honeywell, one of our commercialization partners. The other component will be fabricated using the low-cost/high-volume foundry available from IBM. Both parts will have a nominal output voltage of 1.8V with 1% accuracy. Other designs will target user adjustable voltages in the range 1.2-2V. The feasibility of using the MESFET technology for low voltage applications (e.g. 0.8V) will be explored. All parts will be tested over the temperature range -150C to +150C and after irradiation exposure to a TID of 1 Mrad from a Co-60 source. The enhanced low dose rate sensitivity (ELDRS) of the components will be studied using a low dose rate Cs-137 source. The characteristics of all the components will be documented, and parts made available to NASA and potential customers as deliverables from the Phase 2 activity. We shall work with our commercialization partners to have the LDO regulator design adopted as a licensed 'IP block' and to develop low cost versions for the wider consumer electronics market.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The MESFET-based linear regulator technology has the potential for widespread NASA applications in power management systems exposed to extreme environments. The high radiation tolerance we have demonstrated is attractive for orbital earth science studies as well as lunar and interplanetary missions. Our technology may even be suitable for spacecraft exposed to high radiation environments such as the Europa Jupiter System Mission. Missions to the outer reaches of the solar system that depend on a radiothermal generator are exposed to on-board radiation from the RTG and require the high level of radiation tolerance we expect from the final MESFET regulator component. We expect the MESFET technology to be relatively immune to single event effects and therefore suitable for solar observatories and lunar sensors exposed to solar flares. The MESFET technology can operate over the -196C 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 show 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. We are working with our commercialization partners at On Semiconductor and Honeywell to develop these non-NASA applications. As well as a standalone product, we are developing the low dropout linear regulator as a scalable design that can be included in application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) as a licensed 'IP block'. ASICs are widely used for non-NASA applications by the Department of Defense and aerospace companies.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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 08-06-10 17:29