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Packaging and Assemblies for High-temperature Intelligent Aerospace Controls



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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon,

OBJECTIVE: Develop reliable, low-weight, affordable, electronic integrated circuit (IC) level packaging and assembly for embedded, high-temperature electronic components. Emphasis on affordable high temperature electronics control systems.

DESCRIPTION: Turbine engine controls are increasingly constrained by improvements in turbine engine technology. This constraint is primarily associated with the thermal environment on the engine system. The development of distributed controls can help alleviate this constraint by relocating the most complex electronics, those directly involved in control law processing, to a more benign environment where they can be protected more effectively and with less impact on system level metrics. The remaining electronics, those primarily associated with input/output (I/O) functions and local loop closure, would remain in the hot engine environment.

To extract the greatest system-level performance benefit, the engine-mounted electronic components will need to be implemented with an emphasis on very low-weight technologies. This implies a very high degree of circuit integration to minimize volume and the use of passive methods to provide for thermal control. Unfortunately, higher integration tends to lead to a concentration of heat in electronic circuits. When coupled with a low-quality heat rejection sink, i.e., a small difference in temperature between source and sink, this can lead to problems in reliability. Improvements over the state-of-the-art (SOA) technology should focus on semiconductor die to package interface materials, use of solder alloys, as well as, hermetic and polymer packaging. Improvements to assembly of package to printed wiring board (PWB) board, as well as, choice of optimal packaging designs for harsh environment PWB.

Heat rejection is not the only issue which needs to be addressed by IC packaging and assembly technology. Engine operating environments tend to exhibit high-vibration and high-shock load. Typical vibration and shock test levels specified for the intended integrated circuit environment are up to 50g peak and 75g for shock. Vibratory test frequencies are in the range of 2hz to 3Khz. Guidance can be found in military standards 202, 883 and 810. There is also exposure to other electronics failure-inducing stresses, such as humidity, contaminants, and low pressure. Components are subject to 95-percent relative humidity for multiple cycles to determine suitability. The immediate packaging of integrated circuit electronics is the first line of defense. Conceivably, improved packaging technology could also contribute to increased robustness in other areas such as electromagnetic and radiation susceptibility.

Packaging and assembly technology for very high reliability ICs has traditionally been based on the use of ceramic materials for reasons described above. Due to the significant cost of this type of packaging and assembly, and often the lack of availability of ceramic packaging and assembly from commercial sources, plastic IC packaging and assembly has been used extensively in practice. There are also other undesirable aspects of ceramic technology such as increased weight. The cost/benefit of ceramic packaging and assembly is not completely accepted. Emphasis on affordable high temperature electronics that operate at temperatures between -55 to 225 degrees C will enable new control system capability while reducing development and acquisition costs at the engine system level. SOA bulk silicon CMOS, IC products can operate at 100 degrees C for military applications and up to 150 degrees C for unique applications. High-temperature silicon-on-insulator (SOI) semiconductor products are emerging that can operate at 30 percent higher temperatures for specific applications, such as oil drilling instrumentation with limited cyclic durability.

It is expected that the increase in temperature capability of electronic circuits used in engine-mounted distributed components will exacerbate this issue and warrants additional investment and innovative solutions. New IC packaging and assembly technologies which address the fundamental requirements for the protection and reliable operation of electronic integrated circuits are needed for both commercial hybrid vehicle controls, and military active and high efficiency control, such as for the combustion, fuel, and turbine systems.

Provide benchmark information which will enable a comparison of packaging and assembly material in terms of cost, and environmental performance as it relates to thermal conductivity, humidity, contaminants, vibration, and shock. Provide data related to innovations regarding other qualities which contribute to improved performance and reliability of high temperature electronics for the distributed engine control application.

PHASE I: Evaluate novel low-cost IC packaging materials and assembly techniques for extreme-temperature electronics which address the fundamental needs described above. Demonstrate IC packaging capabilities' potential reliability and manufacturing improvements over the SOA using simulation and laboratory testing.

PHASE II: Demonstrate the overall performance of high-temperature electronics with new extreme-temperature packaging and assembly. Incorporate existing high-temperature ICs into the new packaging materials and assembly, using newly developed processes, and perform benchmark tests. Document the result of testing in terms of the complete range of environmental factors expected in distributed engine applications.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Demonstrate advanced high-temperature IC packaging and assembly technology by implementation in a smart node component. Fabricate smart node hardware for a turbine engine rig or demonstrator engine.


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KEYWORDS: high temperature electronics, packaging, high temperature assembly, integrated circuits, controls, FADEC

  • TPOC-1: Alireza Behbahani
  • Phone: 937-255-5637
  • Email:
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