Space technologies and services
During 2009, The European Space Agency (ESA) renewed a five year contract valued at €750,000 to provide advanced technical support to ESTEC (ESA’s Test Centre located in The Netherlands). Under the contract, Tyndall will act as a Microelectronics Technology Support Laboratory (MTSL) to ESTEC. Within the MTSL, ESA will be a significant user of the new packaging laboratories and will call on the capabilities available for the evaluation of new materials and assembly technologies and the quality verification of a range of spacegrade components, particularly hybrid microcircuits.
Tyndall’s long association with the European Space Agency (ESA) continued successfully during 2010 with significant project activity in several major areas. Tyndall provides technical support to the Agency’s test centre, ESTEC, located in Noordwijk, The Netherlands and is a Microelectronics Technology Support Laboratory (MTSL) to ESTEC. In 2010, the Tyndall MTSL carried out tasks including: the analysis of radiation effects on power MOSFETS, the design analysis of integrated circuits, construction analysis on Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices for the GREAT2 programme, the construction analysis of hybrid microcircuits, and the characterisation of point-of-load power supplies and the supply of RADFET dosimeters. Throughout 2010, Tyndall has also been engaged in several longer-term research & development projects with ESA including:
- The evaluation of the reliability of interconnect technologies for SiC solar cell shunt diodes intended for very high temperature operating environments (350ºC).
- An Investigation of dielectric charging in capacitive MEMS devices in IR Radiation environment (DIMER)
- The development of a highly conformal iridium coating on high aspect ratio silicon pore optics using atomic layer deposition to improve the efficiency of the X-ray optics design of the International X-ray Observatory (IXO).
Tyndall & Farran Technology Develop State-of-the-art Terahertz Schottky Diode for ESA
366 GHz Mixer fabricated in a Gallium Arsenide Membrane
In a collaborative development project with Farran Technology, funded by ESA, Tyndall’s III-V fabrication group have further enhanced their Schottky MMIC technology by transferring commercial MMIC technology to a gallium arsenide membrane substrate. The demonstrator mixer, operating at 366GHz, performed on par with best published mixer results, whilst the 183GHz mixer equalled the performance of the standard Farran equivalent. UMS, the manufacturers of the commercial device, are also very pleased with the work because of the implications it has for extending the frequency range of their devices (nominally 77GHz).