National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center


The NASA Glenn Research Center Smart Sensors and Electronics Systems Branch is developing silicon carbide (SiC) as a material for advanced semiconductor electronic device applications.

SiC-based electronics and sensors can operate in demanding conditions (including 600 °C = 1112 °F glowing red hot!) and where conventional silicon-based electronics cannot. Silicon carbide’s ability to function in high temperature, high power, and high radiation conditions will enable important performance enhancements to a wide variety of systems and applications. In particular, SiC’s high-temperature high-power capabilities offer economically significant benefits to aircraft, spacecraft, power, automotive, communications, and energy production industries.

SiC LED Chip Probe Testing Glowing Red Hot at 600 C

The circular heating element and 5 x 5 mm square SiC chip are both glowing red-hot. The diode being tested electrolumenesces blue light when forward biased. SiC devices have repeatedly demonstrated proper operation at temperatures as high as 650 C. Silicon-based electronics cannot function at these temperatures.

SiC Research at NASA Glenn

To meet the needs of the applications mentioned above, the Smart Sensors and Electronics Systems Branch at the NASA Glenn Research Center is making important advancements in SiC electronics technology. In particular, research is focused on developing improved crystal growth and sensor/electronic device processing technologies necessary to enable and beneficially infuse improved SiC sensor and electronic integrated circuit capability into both NASA missions and commercial applications.

Technicians Working in NASA Glenn SiC Microfabrication Laboratory

NASA Glenn SiC Microfabrication Facility Class 100 Clean Room