Typical tilted view of the silicon capacitor
Enabling & Support

Silicon Capacitors – Development and Space Pre-Evaluation

10/03/2017 759 views 2 likes
ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Engineering & Technology / Shaping the Future
 Programme:  TRP Workplan  Achieved TRL:  5
 Reference:  T723-325QT  Closure:  2016
 Contractor(s):  ALTER (ES)

Silicon capacitors are used today but limited to very low capacitance values. Recent improvement in this technology might provide very interesting advantages such as stable capacitance value over the operating temperature range (up to 200C-250C) or small dimensions. Several application can be supported in particular GaN application which requires high temperature components.

The main objective of this activity is to carry out pre-evaluation of Silicon capacitors to assess the suitability of these parts for space application including radiation test.

3D structure with high aspect ratio
3D structure with high aspect ratio

IPDIA, with its recent progress in the 3D Silicon Capacitor IPDIA technology, which moves the world wide record from 250nF/mm² up to 550nF/mm², was the best candidate for procurement of this kind of capacitors. Reliability and environmental tests such as V-T step stress, life endurance, thermal and vibration tests were carried out. Regarding radiation tests, these capacitors were irradiated up to 300 krad gamma radiation dose providing excellent results. Furthermore, SEE (single event effect) test was carried out showing very low sensitivity to ions effects at their rated operating voltage.

The results obtained are really promising with IPDIA capacitors. The capacitor can be procured as single chip or array that can be integrated directly on active device.

Further work
IPDIA and ALTER agree to set up a supply chain for these capacitors and to propose entry for EPPL. Formal qualification can be envisaged.