15 June 2023
UK Space Agency funds IceMOS to develop radiation-tolerant, high-voltage power MOSFET incorporating SiC engineered-drain substrate
The UK Space Agency, in partnership with ADS, has awarded IceMOS Technology (a provider of superjunction MOSFETs, MEMS solutions and advanced engineering substrates) part of £300,000 in funding for a project to further develop a new breed of power transistors for space applications through the Space Technology Exploitation Programme (STEP). The IceMOS manufacturing center of excellence in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is one of only three companies selected to accelerate development in UK space exploration and supply chains.
The IceMOS development program will focus on delivering an advanced engineered substrate, enabling a radiation-tolerant, high-voltage silicon carbide (SiC) engineered-drain MOSFET for more efficient high-power-distribution electrical systems on spacecraft for low Earth orbit (LEO), middle Earth orbit (MEO) and deep space exploration. The merger of a wide-bandgap (WBG) power MOSFET drain structure that can be tailored to be robust in harsh space radiation environments will create a new class of vertical power transistors. Commercial applications aim to address society’s increasing demand for energy conservation in systems such as artifical intelligence (AI)-enabled cloud services and data centers, fast-charging stations for electric vehicles, photovoltaic energy generation and more.
“With this award IceMOS Technology is uniquely positioned to accelerate advances in the UK space program by making dramatic improvements in high-voltage power radiation-tolerant transistors,” says IceMOS Technology’s founder & chairman Samuel J. Anderson. “It is an honor to be one of only three companies selected to participate in this prestigious program to enhance UK space capability by developing this leading-edge technology that can lower costs and significantly improve overall systems performance,” he adds.
“Creative talent and technical space expertise can be found across the length and breadth of the UK,” comments the UK Space Agency’s chief executive Dr Paul Bate. “These projects, delivered in partnership with ADS, are brilliant examples of that from Northern Ireland’s growing space sector. They will help catalyse investment, create jobs and develop new capabilities within the space supply chain.”
The IceMOS radiation-tolerant power transistor will incorporate the silicon carbide engineered drain substrate to take advantage of the low on-resistance performance from WBG materials that have the potential to revolutionize semiconductor manufacturing for a broad set of applications from power electronics to quantum technology, it is reckoned.