With expected annual worldwide sales of $6.6B in 2010, switching converters represent 26% of the global semiconductor market for power conditioning analog components. Switching regulators are also one of the fastest growing segments in the power conditioning IC market with compounded annual growth rates of 17% projected for the period 2007-2012. The growth in linear regulator sales is driven largely by portable consumer electronics including cell phones, PDAs, laptop and tablet computers, and a variety of other portable devices that require high performance power management. As the supply voltage of microprocessors continues to decrease to 1.5V and below the need for low voltage DC-to-DC converters increases. Especially important are high efficiency, low voltage devices proposed here to maintain battery lifetime. SJT Micropower is partnering with Honeywell and working closely with On Semiconductor and others to develop Non-NASA revenue streams.
Wide temperature range, radiation hard DC-to-DC buck converters that are compatible with advanced CMOS technologies will be widely applicable to NASA science and exploration missions scheduled for the next decade and beyond. 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 that are exposed to high space radiation environments such as the Europa Jupiter System Mission that might accumulate a TID of 1-3 Mrad over a 10 year mission lifetime. Missions to the outer reaches of the solar system often make use of a radiothermal generator (RTG). The power management components of these systems are therefore exposed to on-board radiation from the RTG and require the high level of radiation tolerance we expect from the MESFET technology. The wide temperature operating range will be useful for robotic systems on the Moon or Mars. The current Martian rovers use a thermally controlled warm-electronics-box (WEB) to ensure critical electronic components are not exposed to the full thermal variation of the external environment. Our wide temperature range MESFET technology will allow more circuits to be placed outside the WEB, enabling missions to hostile and extreme environments.