Further away from Venus
The School of Information and Communication Technology has been granted approximately 6,9 SEK million in research funds for the project SUPERHARD IC by the Swedish National Space Board. Professor Carl-Mikael Zetterling, project leader, sees the project funding as a result of more than 20 years hard work in the area of Silicon Carbide (SiC) at the School.
-The results could potentially enable us to do research expeditions further than Venus, says Zetterling.
The objective of the SUPERHARD IC(Silicon Carbide Used in Potentially disruptive Emerging Radiation-HARDened Instrument Components) project is to bring a radical new capability to the Swedish and European space sector in the manufacture of radiation hardened instrument components.
- The funding makes it possible for us to continue with the research of SiC, an interesting material with several different applications, which can withstand high electric fields, high temperatures and radiation, Zetterling says.
For example the SiCs bipolar instrument components will be designed and produced using the state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities of the the school at the Electrum Laboratory. This means elevating the Technology Readiness Level, enabling Europe to match or exceed US capability.
- Europe has had problems with unmanned spacecraft that failed flying simply because of too much cosmic radiation. We will now be able to do small scale tests in the lab and see what needs to be improved. At the Electrum Laboratory we have been able to reach high levels of circuit integration, and it will be interesting to test the radiation some place in Europe. For over twenty years, we have been working with this and recently we have results that might work, Zetterling says.
The School has the experience of being able to test the temperature up to 500-600 degrees, the Working on Venus (WoV) project is one such example.
- But on Venus there is not so much cosmic radiation, and much is suppressed on the way in through the atmosphere. We want to build electronics that can withstand radiation in nuclear power plants. This could mean that the electric trains running in the Alps, which are affected by cosmic rays too, could be more reliable. There are more applications that could be made on Earth than in space.
Besides radiation studies and experimentation costs, the grant will fund a PhD student for four years. The PhD student for this specific project will have great insight in the project and learn from previous PhD students.
- This will be a great opportunity for her or him. If we get good results, it could lead to new ventures with new research funds. Just as with the Venus project, working with space is a long term project. But I guarantee that it is more exciting to pursue research for space than for any company on earth, says Zetterling.
Find more information about the Ph.D. position here: