Other efforts have demonstrated operation of SiC IC's at much lower (T < 350C) temperatures, or very brief (less than few hours) operation at T ? 500C.
NASA's SiC integrated circuit is the first semiconductor integrated circuit (for ANY semiconductor material) ever reported to demonstrate prolonged stable electrical circuit operation at 500 C. NASA is at 5000 hours of 500 C electrical operation and still counting for one of their demonstration circuits. This "proof of principle" demonstration differential amplifier integrated circuit only had three resistors and two transistors. The NASA / ITC goal for the next generaton of SiC chips that are fabricated starting from scratch is to increase the transistor count at least 100-fold. The process of up-scaling the SiC integrated circuitry to much higher levels of integration (i.e., up-scaling to IC chips with thousands of transistors) should be straightforward from previously developed silicon and GaAs IC technology, so the belief is that this can occur pretty rapidly now that the thermal durability breakthrough has been made.
In 2000 NASA used an Endevco silicon-based accelerometer as the benchmark to validate the NASA Glenn SiC high-g accelerometer. Tests showed the NASA device operated as well as the Endevco benchmark device, but at higher temperatures. This initial result led to discussions between Endevco and Glenn about licensing opportunities to acquire Glenn?s SiC pressure and accelerometer sensor fabrication and packaging technologies. A license to three patents was eventually signed.
The ITC work is moving the technology into the realm of commercial viability for on engine SiC hardware.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.