Hopes for GaN HEMTs Riding on Space Station Experiment

Cree, Inc., which has been on the forefront of wide bandgap compound semi development
for both commercial and mil/aero applications, is again helping push the performance
envelop, this time via their GaN HEMT technology which was recently included
in the US Air Force’s MISSE program. MISSE stands for "Materials International
Space Station Experiment." The program is run by Sensors Directorate of
Air Force Laboratories (AFRL) and the mission is to evaluate the radiation hardness
of leading edge GaN based electronic devices as a means of determining their
suitability for future satellite applications. It’s the kind of program the
International Space Station does best… and Cree’s GaN HEMTs, under the direction
of Cree co-founder, Dr. John Palomour, Cree’s Director of Advanced Devices,
are clearly world class devices. John and his team in Durham, North Carolina,
USA have been working on the cutting edge of GaN and SiC electronic devices
for many years and this key experiment is considered an important technology
milestone within the high temperature/rad hard compound semi community. The
prototype Cree GaN HEMT devices and GaN HEMT epiwafers were mounted on the outside
of the space station’s airlock during the first spacewalk of the mission on
August 16th. If they come back with a great rad hard report card, they’ll automatically
become not only "world class" but out-of-this-world as well as space
qualified materials and devices. This is an extremely important experiment for
the overall GaN electronic community, so we’ll be tracking the outcome closely.
For details on the experiment and Cree’s latest GaN electronic device metrics,
we refer you to Cree’s press
release
on the launch and this important compound semi payload.