NASA has reportedly awarded two grants totaling nearly $245,000 to Ozark Integrated Circuits Inc., a firm affiliated with the University of Arkansas. The company, which performs its semiconductor design work at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park, plans to use the grants to develop complex integrated circuits that can operate on the surface of Venus. The surface of Venus has temperatures that can reach 500 degrees Celsius – 932 degrees Fahrenheit.
Matt Francis, Ozark IC’s president and CEO said that the two silicon-carbide-based circuits could be incorporated into the design of the space agency’s proposed Venus Landsailing Rover. Electrical engineering students at the U of A will collaborate with the company on one of the projects. The project will also utilize the integrated circuit packaging expertise and facilities of the university’s High-Density Electronics Research Center at the research park.
“Silicon carbide is a semiconductor that is ideally suited for the extreme environments found on Venus,” Francis said. “We have many years of experience working with this semiconductor fabrication process, developing models and process-design kits specifically for this process.”