Cleveland (OH) – NASA researchers said that they have designed and built a circuit chip that easily can sustain temperatures of 500 degrees Celsius (932 degrees F).
According to the organization, the "silicon carbide differential amplifier integrated circuit chip" ran for more than 1700 hours at more than 500 degrees Celsius before showing degradation or failure. However, don't start dreaming about the possibilities of a 20 GHz chip in your next PC: NASA said that the technology isn't likely to make its way into the consumer space.
Instead, the "extremely functional but physically small circuitry" could be used in hot sections of automotive or jet engines: The goal is to create safer and more fuel efficient engines. NASA also believes that the chip could provide benefits in industries such as oil and natural gas well drilling as well as for its own space program, especially when explorations to hostile environments, such as the surface of Venus, are planned.
"It's really a significant step toward mission-enabling harsh environment electronics," said Phil Neudeck, an electronics engineer and team lead for this work by the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. "This new capability can eliminate the additional plumbing, wires, weight and other performance penalties required to liquid-cool traditional sensors and electronics near the hot combustion chamber, or the need to remotely locate them elsewhere where they aren't as effective."