Radio Chips for Extreme Temperature

University of Arkansas

May, 2018
Radio Chips for Extreme Temperature
The mixer chip is embedded on this test board with its accompanying passive components; then it’s heated to 500 ºC as it’s tested. Photo: KTH Royal Institute of Technology/University of Arkansas/IEEE

While summer temperatures on earth put a strain on typical electronic devices, they do not hold a candle to the temperatures on planets such as Venus, where average day temperatures rise to 467ºC (872ºF). But even that is cool compared to the temperature inside a natural gas turbine generator, where the exhaust stream touches 1000ºC (1832ºF). Both of these environments are where engineers at the University of Arkansas and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden want to place sensors.

Using silicon carbide, the team created a mixer chip, which is a key element of any wireless system, that is capable of running in temperatures up to 500ºC, making it the first mixer capable of handling such extremes. “It doesn’t sit there and cook itself,” says Alan Mantooth, professor of electrical engineering at Arkansas.

The goal is to be able to put a rover with instruments on the surface of Venus that will last in the heat, as well as mount sensors in those gas turbines that can detect wear and help to avoid expensive outages.

To learn more about this research project, click here.

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