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Radiation Hard, RF-Silent DC Voltage Regulators

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8649-21-P-0628
Agency Tracking Number: FX20C-TCSO1-0266
Amount: $50,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF20C-TCSO1
Solicitation Number: X20.C
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-02-05
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-05-08
Small Business Information
3461 S. Wakefield St
Arlington, VA 22206-1719
United States
DUNS: 116931863
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Matthew Lumb
 (703) 225-9847
Business Contact
 Matthew Lumb
Phone: (703) 225-9847
Research Institution
 Arizona State University
 Christine Krause
660 S Mill Ave Suite 312
Tempe, AZ 85281-3670
United States

 (480) 965-2196
 Nonprofit College or University

Polaris Semiconductor has pioneered a voltage regulator technology which can efficiently raise and lower DC voltage with zero electromagnetic interference (EMI) and an extremely compact footprint. This overcomes long-standing pain-points associated with incumbent solutions based on switching regulators, including drawbacks associated with RF signature, high component count, large footprint and excessive weight. This project will support targeted R&D in collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU) which builds upon Polaris Semiconductor’s existing technology to develop a radiation hard design of our voltage regulator, with the potential to provide disruptive capabilities in demanding space applications. Our technology is based upon a novel linear voltage regulator architecture including a unique monolithic optocoupler (MLOC) component, which converts voltage using photons. This allows our device to break the fundamental performance limits for a linear voltage regulator, achieving functionality presently only available using switching approaches. Our Phase I project will use experimental studies to measure the radiation degradation in existing Polaris Semiconductor MLOC components, and detailed optoelectronic device modeling to understand the degradation. These studies will be used to design a new generation of MLOC components able to withstand harsh radiation environments found in space. The new designs will then be combined with existing voltage regulator IC designs featuring the highly radiation tolerant SOI MESFET technology developed by ASU and their spinout, RF Micropower. Detailed design work and performance predictions will be carried out using in-depth SPICE circuit simulations. These designs will form the basis of prototype voltage regulator IC demonstrations in Phase II with a range of up-conversion and down-conversion combinations. Our research will combine the design, modeling, and circuit-level expertise of Polaris Semiconductor with the world-class semiconductor research facilities of ASU, building on a successful existing collaboration to develop Polaris Semiconductor technology. Our team will also perform extensive customer discovery in Phase I, connecting with key decision makers in the Air Force to learn more about their specific needs, requirements, and end-use applications, as well as interviewing key industry players to identify current trends, potential stakeholders and test our value proposition hypotheses. If we are successful, our technology will enable a six-fold reduction in footprint and component count over existing switching-based solutions for DC-DC conversion whilst achieving high intrinsic radiation tolerance for harsh space environments.

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

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