Extreme environment electronics based on SiC are capable of operation in the extreme radiation and temperature conditions that will be encountered during exploration of the solar system on missions such as the planned Venus In-Situ Explorer and proposed Europa-Jupiter missions. SiC IC technology developed in this program can also be used with existing discrete SiC power devices to implement scalable, high operating temperature, radiation hard power management and distribution systems and power processing units for satellites and other spacecraft. Earth based applications include distributed engine control systems. These systems have been the subject of research and development for several decades but their implementation has been prevented by the lack of available extreme temperature electronics technology. The commercially viable, high temperature capable electronics technology developed in this program will fill this need leading to new research and ultimately a new generation of engine controls for improved aircraft performance and efficiency.
Extreme environment electronics also have applications in the areas of defense, aerospace, scientific research, energy exploration, and industrial controls. DoD needs radiation tolerant electronics for space and missile defense applications and high temperature electronics for electronic aircraft controls being developed to replace hydraulic systems. Distributed engine control developments enabled by SiC electronics have direct applicability in commercial jet engines where there is a continual push for increased fuel efficiency. Scientific applications include nuclear physics research and instrumentation for nuclear facilities. High temperature electronics are needed for improved downhole tools for geothermal energy exploration, development, and production. There is also a well-established market for extreme temperature pressure sensors in which SiC electronics can increase performance by buffering the sensor signal within the high temperature environment.