Electrical power management designed for use in space requires electronics capable of operating without damage in the galactic cosmic ray space radiation environment under severe temperature swings. Unfortunately, the adoption of SiC and GaN technology into space applications is hindered by their susceptibility to permanent degradation and catastrophic failure from single event effect heavy-ion exposure. This degradation occurs at <50% of the rated operating voltage, requiring the operation of SiC/GaN devices at de-rated voltages.
Diamond is one of the candidate materials for the next-generation WBG semiconductor devices capable of overcoming the current limitations of SiC/GaN technology. In addition to having the highest breakdown field, it has the highest p-type conductivity, making it a unique p-channel material for power electronics applications. It also holds a solid hope to be hardened against single event burnout (SEB) due to its superior thermal conductivity and ability to maintain an excellent crystalline structure under heavy ion exposure.
Euclid Beamlabs, in collaboration with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will develop a new quasi-lateral diamond power MOSFET that will overcome current limitations by combining the inherent advantages of diamond material, SEB hardened transistor design with advanced 3D femtosecond laser writing capabilities of micrometer-scale conductive structure fabrication inside the diamond. The project's primary focus is developing SEB tolerant diamond transistor design with a 2D boron-doped conductive channel and graphitized embedded connections. The targeted specifications are 3,300+ V voltage rating with 2.8 Ohm-cm^2 specific on-resistance.
In Phase I of the project, we will focus on the optimal transistor design simulations. Also, the customized ionization software will evaluate SEB performance for diamond devices. We will also electronically characterize diamond substrates and test the optimum fs-laser writing procedure.
The technology has immediate application for radiation-hardened power electronics circuits in exploring atmospheric planets, Moon to Mars, and Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) missions. It has a strong potential to advance current state-of-the-art electronics on revolutionary spacecraft design with reduced size, weight, and power while increasing overall system efficiency, longevity, and performance.
The developed technology can be commercialized for a wide set of purposes with hostile environments and high-temperature operation regimes. It will overcome the limitations of current state-of-the-art high-temperature, cost-effective power electronics technology. The all-carbon technology will find its applications in military electronics, high energy physics, and medical radiology.