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High-Temp Electronics For Venus Exploration, recent advances
hendric
post Aug 17 2015, 08:30 PM
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Wow, an imager running at 600*F? Even if UV only that is one hell of an accomplishment. Hazcams via blacklight!


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Habukaz
post Sep 3 2015, 09:39 PM
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Meta-news:

QUOTE
Inside the 14-ton, stainless steel, 3- by 6-foot chamber, temperatures can soar beyond 900 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than the surface of Venus. At the same time, pressure can reach nearly 100 times the weight of Earth’s atmosphere at sea level.

[...]

In addition to scientific research, GEER also will be used to test sensors and equipment, such as high-temperature electronics, that one day could enable long-duration surface missions to Earth’s mysterious sister planet.


http://news.discovery.com/space/hell-on-ea...here-150902.htm

EDIT: see it has already been mentioned - guess it is ready now?


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colin_wilson
post Jun 16 2016, 09:56 AM
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Swedish tech lab KTH is working to develop high-temperature silicon carbide electronics for ambient temperature operation at the surface of Venus.

https://www.kth.se/blogs/wov/
https://www.kth.se/blogs/wov/files/2014/10/..._KAW_160304.pdf

They're pretty ambitious - aiming to demonstrate digital CPUs, amplifiers, gas sensors, seismometers.

From the PDF document linked above:

"
The project started January 2014 and has eight
PhD students in the different work packages.
Our present bipolar technology has been scaled
to smaller transistors, and self‐aligned nickel
contacts have been developed. Four new
integrated circuit designs were made for
different parts of the lander electronics: CMOS
circuit test set, a 4‐bit microprocessor, RF
transistors for the radio transceiver and a
prototype pixel sensor for the imaging. Most of
these have been fabricated by the PhD students
in the KTH Myfab clean room, some are still in
progress. Preliminary testing and modeling
show operation up to 550 °C, sufficient for the
Venus target. A first demonstration has been
made of capacitive inertial sensing at high
temperatures; gas sensors have been annealed
at 500 °C for 300 h; photodiodes sensitive in the
near UV range (200 to 400 nm) have been tested
up to 550 °C. Power sources have been
identified, and passive components like
inductors have been tested to 500 °C.
"
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Explorer1
post Jul 6 2016, 06:21 PM
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Interesting article I found today: a Sterling engine with lithium fuel? http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160705-t...weve-ever-built
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Xcalibrator
post Aug 23 2016, 02:55 PM
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ROSES-16 Amendment 25 releases the new program element C.24 The Hot Operating Temperature Technology Program.

The Hot Operating Temperature Technology (HOTTech) program supports the advanced development of technologies for the robotic exploration of high-temperature environments, such as the Venus surface, Mercury, or the deep atmosphere of Gas Giants. The goal of the program is to develop and mature technologies that will enable, significantly enhance, or reduce technical risk for in situ missions to high-temperature environments with temperatures approaching 500 degrees Celsius or higher. It is a priority for NASA to invest in technology developments that mitigate the risks of mission concepts proposed in response to upcoming Announcements of Opportunity (AO) and expand the range of science that might be achieved with future missions. Note that this HOTTech program element is not soliciting hardware for a flight opportunity.

HOTTech is limited to high temperature electrical and electronic systems that could be needed for potentially extended in situ missions to such environments. NASA seeks to maximize the benefits of its technology investments and consequently technologies that offer terrestrial benefits, in addition to meeting needs of planetary science. While specific technology readiness levels are not prescribed for the HOTTech program, proposers are reminded that the goal of the program is to mature technologies so they can be proposed as part of a selectable mission concept or technology demonstration to a flight AO with reduced risk. It is the responsibility of the proposer to describe how their proposed technology development effort addresses the goals of enabling or enhancing future mission capability or reducing risk and how the technology will be matured for a flight opportunity as part of an integrated system. Efforts that focus on advancing the technology readiness level (TRL) of a system composed of multiple existing technologies at various TRLs are allowed under this opportunity.

Notices of Intent are requested by September 28, 2016, and the due date for proposals is November 23, 2016.
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hendric
post Feb 8 2017, 08:19 PM
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https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/02/venus-computer-chip/

An oscillator is a very important step in creating a full Silicon Carbide based CPU capable of operating a Venus temperatures. 1 MHz doesn't sound like much, but it is more than enough for basic analysis. The hard thing to get working is an imager - high temps mean leaky pixels. This is yet another great example of NASA dual use, with this tech being very useful for deep well operation.


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Space Enthusiast Richard Hendricks
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"The engineers, as usual, made a tremendous fuss. Again as usual, they did the job in half the time they had dismissed as being absolutely impossible." --Rescue Party, Arthur C Clarke
Mother Nature is the final inspector of all quality.
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JRehling
post Feb 9 2017, 09:28 PM
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QUOTE (hendric @ Feb 8 2017, 01:19 PM) *
The hard thing to get working is an imager - high temps mean leaky pixels.


It may be interesting for those who don't know – cameras used for amateur photography of Deep Sky Objects are cooled internally, reducing the incidence of such noise. A galaxy or nebula may be roughly 1/100,000th as luminous as a planet, and cooling the camera to, say, -15C when outside temperatures are +15C can help tremendously in producing a clear image, whereas this is not needed for imaging planets.

On the surface of Venus, the luminosity isn't a problem, but the temperature is. On the other hand, another solution to this problem would be to provide passive or active cooling for just long enough to take one image, then let the camera die. Potentially, almost all of the science value would be in taking a single image as soon as possible after landing.
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algorimancer
post Feb 10 2017, 07:23 PM
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QUOTE (JRehling @ Feb 9 2017, 03:28 PM) *
...provide passive or active cooling for just long enough to take one image, then let the camera die....

So long as the ccd-equivalent sensor doesn't degrade with the heat, active per-image cooling strikes me as feasible. I'd really like to see a rover, rather than just a fixed lander, so multiple images are important. Alternatively, I could envision something like polaroid instant film, a ccd-equivalent on something like a roll, where we get one shot per sensor, read and transmit the image, then roll to the next good sensor.

One problem (aside from heat tolerance) with current sensors is that they have a strong response in the infrared. Not such a good thing on Venus.

Has there been any progress on high-temperature imaging sensors?
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Holder of the Tw...
post Feb 10 2017, 07:33 PM
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If you're using a cooled and sealed environment to house your CCD in, then it is easy enough to deal with the infrared. Just put a filter in the sealed chamber between the camera and the inner window.
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hendric
post Feb 13 2017, 05:33 PM
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Dr Neudeck kindly forwarded me a concept study for a long-duration Venus surface station:

http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2017/pdf/2986.pdf



SiC imagers have been developed for solar imaging, because they have a high rejection of infrared due to the large band-gap:

http://techport.nasa.gov/externalFactSheet...?objectId=16616
http://techport.nasa.gov/file/15351

Imagine a wind-powered rover using UV cameras to drive across Venus, stopping to recharge using a windmill, and with UV LEDs to keep driving during the Venusian night! wheel.gif wheel.gif


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Space Enthusiast Richard Hendricks
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"The engineers, as usual, made a tremendous fuss. Again as usual, they did the job in half the time they had dismissed as being absolutely impossible." --Rescue Party, Arthur C Clarke
Mother Nature is the final inspector of all quality.
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mcaplinger
post Feb 13 2017, 06:11 PM
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QUOTE (algorimancer @ Feb 10 2017, 11:23 AM) *
One problem (aside from heat tolerance) with current sensors is that they have a strong response in the infrared. Not such a good thing on Venus.

IR cut filters are trivial. The wavelengths silicon sensors are sensitive to are in the very near IR near 1 micron, not in the thermal IR. Imaging in the near IR can be a good thing on Venus because there is less scattering from the atmosphere, at least in some bandpasses. Bottom line: no new technology required if there is some way to cool the sensor.

And we are a long way from having electronics that work at Venus ambient, let alone image sensors, this most recent development notwithstanding.


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Disclaimer: This post is based on public information only. Any opinions are my own.
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algorimancer
post Feb 14 2017, 04:37 PM
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It sounds like we might be able to contemplate a dumb lander, just sending some basic information like temperature, wind speed, and perhaps seismic data, as early as 5 years from now. Optimistically, maybe a rover with imager in 10-15 years. Technology is coming along. At my age, these time scales aren't too bad smile.gif
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Holder of the Tw...
post Feb 14 2017, 05:12 PM
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Did anybody notice that the SiC imaging chip in question is solar blind? That means operating in a spectrum area of UV that the sun doesn't put out very much of, let alone worrying whether any of that output could make it through the atmosphere. Which means in turn that you are going to have to have some kind of powerful very short wave UV illuminator to light up the area with.
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hendric
post Feb 14 2017, 06:17 PM
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That's not the way I interpreted the specifications. I think they meant solar-blind in the sense that they don't need special protection against the IR and visible light coming from the Sun: The sensor is inherently not sensitive to IR and visible light, and can tolerate very high operating temperatures.

mcaplinger - The abstract is really for a UV-targeted imager, not necessarily a SiC specific one. They state

"The high sensitivity of silicon CCDs and CMOS arrays in
the visible and near infrared (IR) is a liability when employing
these same arrays in the ultraviolet. As exemplified in the
Hubble telescope instruments, long wavelength blocking filters
exact a high price due to their low transmission in the ultraviolet."

So for their needs a SiC imager is better for UV sun imaging than an Si based imager + IR Cut.

I posted the link to show that SiC based imagers (not necessarily tuned for the Venus environment yet) do exist. They do point out the underlying JFET technology can tolerate 300*C temps.


--------------------
Space Enthusiast Richard Hendricks
--
"The engineers, as usual, made a tremendous fuss. Again as usual, they did the job in half the time they had dismissed as being absolutely impossible." --Rescue Party, Arthur C Clarke
Mother Nature is the final inspector of all quality.
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