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Power Electronics Being Developed for Deep Space Cryogenic ApplicationsElectronic circuits and systems designed for deep space missions need to operate reliably and efficiently in harsh environments that include very low temperatures. Spacecraft that operate in such cold environments carry a large number of heaters so that the ambient temperature for the onboard electronics remains near 20 C. Electronics that can operate at cryogenic temperatures will simplify system design and reduce system size and weight by eliminating the heaters and their associated structures. As a result, system development and launch cost will be reduced. At the NASA Glenn Research Center, an ongoing program is focusing on the development of power electronics geared for deep space low-temperature environments. The research and development efforts include electrical components design, circuit design and construction, and system integration and demonstration at cryogenic temperatures. Investigations are being carried out on circuits and systems that are targeted for use in NASA missions where low temperatures will be encountered: devices such as ceramic and tantalum capacitors, metal film resistors, semiconductor switches, magnetics, and integrated circuits including dc/dc converters, operational amplifiers, voltage references, and motor controllers. Test activities cover a wide range of device and circuit performance under simple as well as complex test conditions, such as multistress and thermal cycling. The effect of low-temperature conditions on the switching characteristics of an advanced silicon-on-insulator field effect transistor is shown. For gate voltages (VGS) below 2.6 V, drain currents at -190 C are lower than drain currents at room temperature (20 C).
Document ID
Document Type
Patterson, Richard L.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Hammoud, Ahmad
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Research and Technology 2002
Subject Category
Electronics And Electrical Engineering
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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