Motor Controller for Extreme Environments Based on SiGe

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX09CD07P
Agency Tracking Number: 085118
Amount: $99,931.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: S3.03
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
7 Manor Parkway, Salem, NH, 03079-2842
DUNS: 066616442
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Rufus Ward
 Principal Investigator
 (603) 894-6865
Business Contact
 Rufus Ward
Title: Business Official
Phone: (603) 894-6865
Research Institution
The proposed innovation is a motor-control subsystem capable of operation in extreme environments, including those to be encountered on the Moon and Mars. Specifically, we will demonstrate operation over the environmental range from +130ºC down to –230ºC during Phase 1, and from +200ºC down to –230ºC during Phase 2. The switching transistors for the controller will be based on silicon-germanium (SiGe) because of its demonstrated ability to operate well at extreme temperatures. The outcome of this project will be an operating hardware system, not a simulation. This innovation will be applicable to upcoming NASA missions to the surface of the Moon and Mars, as well as to other missions that need controllers for motors and actuators operating directly in extreme environments. Motor-control systems are also needed for space-based observatories, for example for the deformable cryogenic optical systems on the James Webb Space Telescope. Moreover, there are potential applications for extreme-temperature power electronics in the industrial, commercial and defense sectors. The Phase 1 demonstration target is an H-bridge control circuit, pulse-width modulated, for controlling the speed and direction of a 20 W dc motor. The circuit will incorporate four silicon-germanium (SiGe) HBTs, because of their demonstrated advantages for extreme-temperature operation. In addition, the proposing organization, GPD Optoelectronics Corp., has developed SiGe power transistors that operate down to –230ºC. The drive circuitry will use optoelectronic coupling. Suitable packaging technologies for the extreme environment will be developed and reliability testing will be performed. A complete prototype system will be delivered at the conclusion of each Phase. The proposed motor-control subsystem is an innovation because there are presently no such subsystems capable of operation over the extreme-environment range from +130ºC or +200ºC down to –230ºC.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government