APEI, Inc. is currently developing ultra-wide temperature (-230 °C to +130 °C) motor drives utilizing silicon-germanium (SiGe) asynchronous logic digital control electronics. Electronics systems are essential in every science mission vehicle, with use in critical systems ranging from motor drives and control of actuators to data logging and on-board computers. The utilization of the SiGe electronics allows for a number of key benefits, in particular:
Excellent low temperature properties of SiGe allows for the compatibility with current fabrication technology used for Si devices
Ultra-wide temperature range eliminates (or reduces) the need for thermal control
Reducing size, weight, and power usage; thus improving the payload capacity, reliability, and efficiency
Ultra-wide temperature power electronics will have a profound impact on deep space exploration craft enabling greater mobility and mission lifetime. The use of ultra-wide temperature power electronics will allow increased payload capacity of Lunar and Mars exploratory craft, while improving reliability through reduced system level complexity. The first market for this technology will be in the power electronics systems of NASA Lunar and Martian science missions and deep space exploration vehicles, including spacecraft, balloons, rockets, and aircraft. Other potential new applications for this technology are found in the commercial avionics, medical, and defense sectors. The avionics industry is actively pursuing the development of extreme temperature electronics for sensors, radio-frequency power amplifiers, and actuators/motor drive application. The medical fields and the defense sectors have particular interest in extreme temperature electronics since it has the potential of impacting several areas such as magnetic resonance imaging, particle accelerators, etc. This technology can also foster other research fields such as superconducting power transmission and distribution, superconducting motors and generators, etc.