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Substrates for High Temperature Electronics




TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform; Sensors; Electronics


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: Develop improved manufacturing or processing of substrate materials for high temperature electronics (HTE) to eliminate or reduce the need for cooling and all its accompanying requirements.


DESCRIPTION: Flight environments pose challenges for the state-of-the-art electronics required by missile-defense interceptors.  Temperatures can surpass the MIL-STD-883 method 1011 upper range limit of 125°C.  State of the art electronics are limited by the thermal capabilities of semiconductors, such as current silicon materials.  Heat can have especially damaging effect on circuits that deal with higher frequencies like communications and sensors.  These circuits can become distorted due to higher temperature altering impedance or interfering in other ways with functionality.  A large portion of space and power is devoted to cooling or insulating the electronics.  This need to cool circuits complicates designs, and can hamper performance.  HTE would greatly reduce the size, weight, and power (SWaP) and complexity of the thermal management systems for these interceptors.  However, integrated circuits that can withstand temperatures much higher than 125°C cannot be grown on bulk-silicon and must instead be grown on other substrates.  Advanced substrate materials are very costly to grow and fashion into wafers.  This topic seeks innovative ways to lower this cost in order to promote the wider adoption of HTE which would benefit the Government.  Using substrate materials other than bulk-silicon would reduce the effects of heat on electronics and would be highly beneficial to many aspects of missile defense. 


Proposed solutions should focus on the use of materials such as silicon carbide, gallium nitride, diamond, or high other temperature materials for wafer production in a new, innovative or novel method.  Materials should be capable of operating at up to 300°C.  Materials should also have improved radiation tolerance compared to current silicon material.  The method should produce high yield to waste ratio, be affordable, and allow for fast wafer production methods.


PHASE I: Design and develop innovative solutions, methods, and concept for improved electronics temperature resilience.  Produce paper studies, material fabrication, and/or simulations.


PHASE II: Complete a prototype substrate incorporating Government performance requirements, and demonstrate said prototype.  Coordinate with the Government during prototype design and development to ensure that the delivered products will be relevant to ongoing missile defense architecture needs.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Use substrate design and or model complex electronics molded after state of the art Commercial Off-the-Shelf units.



  1. “SiC Die Attach Metallurgy and Processes for Applications up to 500ºC”, Ping Zheng and Wayne Johnson, IEEE Transactions on Electronics Packaging Manufacturing Technology, 2156–3950, Sep. 2011.
  2. R. Wayne Johnson, Ping Zheng, Alberez Wiggins, Seymour and Leora Peltz, “High Temperature Electronics Packaging”, Proceedings of the HITEN, St Catherine's College, Oxford, UK, Sep. 17-19, 2007.
  3. Virgil B. Shields, “Applications of Silicon Carbide for High Temperature Electronics and Sensors”, Mar 1, 1996, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Tech Briefs, 20, 3, P.55, ISSN 0145-319X.
  4. Hypersonic Weapons and US National Security: A 21st Century Breakthrough. Speier, R., Nacouzi, G., Lee, C. A., & Moore, R. M. (2017).
  5. United States, Air Force, Scientific Advisory Board. (2015, May). Technology Readiness for Hypersonic Vehicles.


KEYWORDS: Electronics, substrate, high temperature, semi-conductor, and radiation tolerance

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