Aerospace Semiconductor: Devices That Pave The Road To Space 

Aerospace Semiconductor- Devices That Pave The Road To Space

We all know the use of semiconductors is limitless. With the advancement of technology and intelligent semiconductor designing and manufacturing, these tiny devices have surpassed outer space as well. Aerospace semiconductors are examples that can accentuate the reliability, perfection, and strength of semiconductors and the true worth of these tiny devices.

When it concerns aerospace, reliability is everything. The semiconductors have to survive throughout a long journey. Moreover, they must keep working even after reaching a destination.

In this blog, let us learn more about the connection between the two industries – The semiconductor industry and the aerospace industry. 

What Is The Aerospace Industry?

What Is The Aerospace Industry | INQUIVIX TECHNOLOGIES

The aerospace industry involves the manufacture of aircraft and spacecraft products. This includes passenger and military airplanes, guided missiles, helicopters, gliders, spacecraft, launch vehicles, satellites, and other products related to air and space.

Moreover, it is a high-technology industry that functions as a cooperation between the public and the private sectors. When observing the technology used in the aerospace industry, multiple technologies and innovations are used. The majority of technologies were developed during the period of World War II.

Many tend to have confusion in comprehending the relationship between the aerospace industry and the aviation industry. Indeed, the aforementioned industries cover different airspaces.

The aviation industry is all about aircraft-related products within the earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, this industry includes the manufacturing of different types of aircraft that hover within the airspace (airplanes, helicopters, gliders). 

On the other hand, the aerospace industry goes beyond the earth’s atmosphere. That is the industry designs and manufactures products that go beyond the airspace and into space. However, the aerospace industry is not limited to that. It also manufactures various types of aircraft as well. 

Semiconductors That Pave The Road To Space

Semiconductors That Pave the Road to Space | INQUIVIX TECHNOLOGIES

Undoubtedly, it is difficult to predict the conditions of the space environment. There can be favorable conditions however, there can also be conditions that can cause severe damage to the overall functioning of the space structure. For instance, there can be conditions that can break down the mechanical characteristics of space-based materials.

As a remedy for this issue, gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC), which can be recognized as “Wide Bandgap Semiconductors”, are proven to be the most adequate and the most promising materials to be used in power electronic devices.

There are several reasons to consider these materials as adequate in space structures in contrast to the usage of silicon-based technology. Their ability to manage high power levels, ability to operate at high temperatures, and ability to switch frequencies are prominent advantages of wide bandgap semiconductors. 

How Does Radiation Affect Power Devices

How Does Radiation Affect Power Devices | INQUIVIX TECHNOLOGIES

As it was mentioned before, numerous conditions in the space environment can cause severe damage to space systems. One such unfavorable space condition is space radiation.

The space radiation that exists in outer space can cause degradation, malfunctioning of the device, and interruptions (flow of space radiation in outer space – 85% protons and 15% heavy nuclei). Therefore, the ability to be insensitive to radiation is one of the main requirements of a semiconductor if it is to be used in space systems.

Other Advantages Of Using Wide Bandgap Semiconductors In Spacecrafts

Apart from that, the production of low noise, low power losses, and high efficiency are some other benefits of using WBG materials in next-generation space-born systems. Moreover, the weight and size of the materials used in these space-borne systems are two aspects that are of significance. 

These systems require materials with reduced weight and size that also consist of high efficiency and reliability. The Gallium Nitride (GaN) power devices match these requirements.

The Market Landscape Of Semiconductors In The Military And Aerospace Industry

The Market Landscape Of Semiconductors In The Military And Aerospace Industry | INQUIVIX TECHNOLOGIES

Semiconductor Market Drive In The Military And Aerospace Industry

We all know how the whole world got affected by the outburst of COVID-19. The semiconductor industry was one of the many industries that faced the same consequences. Research has found out how the semiconductor market was affected badly during the pandemic crisis.

However, the need for upgraded and modernized aircraft for the military and aerospace industries has become the main driving force for the semiconductor market. The main motive behind these needs is to provide the craft’s pilot with a safe flying experience.

Moreover, a new requirement has arisen with the cathode ray tubes going out of trend. Instead, the aircraft manufacturers focus on using lighter and more advanced display screens. The advantage of using these upgraded display screens is the ability to control fuel consumption and reduce emissions. Thus, this accelerates the need for more semiconductors to be used in aircraft electronic systems. 

Semiconductor Market Trend In The Military And Aerospace Industry

As a result of the market drives in the military and aerospace industries, the use of Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductors gained prominence. Moreover, the promising features that were provided by this particular type of semiconductor stimulated the growth of the use of semiconductors in these two industries.

One of the main reasons why GaN semiconductors gained popularity is their size. These are much smaller when compared to silicon semiconductors. Hence, a semiconductor manufacturer has the possibility of producing a larger number of GaN devices in one wafer.

The Use Of Commercial Aviation Semiconductors

The Use Of Commercial Aviation Semiconductors | INQUIVIX TECHNOLOGIES

When considering the aviation industry, a variety of commercial aviation semiconductors are used by commercial aircraft and jet manufacturers. Now let’s find out how semiconductors are used in aircraft production. 

Cabin Management Systems

One system in which semiconductors are used is cabin management systems. What is this system? Nowadays, aircraft consist of several systems that focus on improving passenger comfort. Cabin pressure, entertainment, temperature control, and lighting are some aspects that are focused on when it comes to passenger comfort.

Of course, these systems are not very much critical for the functioning of the aircraft. However, to provide the maximum service to the passengers and make the journey more pleasing, such systems are important.

Cockpit Avionics

When compared to aircraft that existed in the past, the electronic devices installed in today’s cockpits are much more sophisticated and reliable. The cockpit is one of the most important and critical locations in an aircraft. 

Hence, installing the most reliable, light weighted devices and devices with high thermal performance is very crucial. Installing hybrid and customized semiconductor packaging is one solution that aircraft manufacturers use to create an aircraft that is more promising in terms of its performance.

Power Conversion

Another requirement of an aircraft is a safe and reliable power conversion. Installing high-tech commercial semiconductors in these aviation systems will help the manufacturers to design a product with less power waste and less heat production. Moreover, high-tech circuits are also installed to make the flight safer and more reliable.

Actuator Systems

Actuator systems are used at the point of load to save weight from unnecessary piping and cabling. Therefore, controlling those actuators are very crucial for an aircraft. Commercial aviation semiconductors can assist these actuators to function in a more reliable manner by giving maximum flexibility for actuator placement, control, and confirmation.

Engine Control Systems

The engine control system is another vital system in an aircraft and commercial semiconductors are also used to facilitate the functioning of this system as well. Similar to other systems, reliability, flexibility, and high performance are key necessities in this system. 

Moreover, this system should be able to tolerate high temperatures and other harsh environments and the right type of semiconductors do the needful.

The Impacts Of The Chip Shortage On Aerospace And Defense Industries

The Impacts Of The Chip Shortage On Aerospace And Defense Industries | INQUIVIX TECHNOLOGIES

Due to several reasons, the world is experiencing a shortage of semiconductors and thus, has gradually broken down sections of the global supply chain of semiconductors.

Although the breakdown had massive effects on the automobile industry in 2021, the aerospace industry experienced only less disruption.

Why did such a disruption occur in the first place?

Initially, with the outbreak of COVID-19, the semiconductor industry was challenged with a new experience. The demand for semiconductors grew during this pandemic period. With the high use of electronic applications like laptops, game consoles, and televisions, more and more semiconductors were manufactured to satisfy those industries.

At the same time, more demand came for semiconductors with the introduction of 5G technology. This involved the production of new antennas and new smartphones. Therefore, the semiconductor companies had to satisfy this part of the industry as well.

With all these demands, the semiconductor companies were unable to keep up with the demand for microelectronics which are essential components in industrial robotics, new vehicle components, and significantly in aerospace and defense. 

High-Reliability Semiconductors For The Aerospace And Defense Market

High-Reliability Semiconductors For The Aerospace And Defense Market | INQUIVIX TECHNOLOGIES

To facilitate the demands of aerospace and defense markets, semiconductor companies are working towards the production of high-reliability semiconductors for military and space applications.

As a result, their advanced systems and devices are focusing on fulfilling stringent operating requirements in the defense landscape. Moreover, semiconductor manufacturers are aiming to come up with solutions to provide communication platforms that function even in harsh environmental conditions.

The ceramic packaging of semiconductors is one of the features that can be seen in high-reliable semiconductors made for defense and aerospace applications. This new packaging helps to simplify the design process of aerospace and defense systems.

Another innovation by semiconductor manufacturers is radiation-resistant semiconductor chips. This innovation has helped the aerospace and defense market as this new chip is useful in providing operational reliability in space. 

The Future Of Semiconductors In The Aerospace Industry

The topic of semiconductors has become one predominant topic in the aerospace industry. Nevertheless, semiconductor manufacturers are working to come up with the most advanced and the most sophisticated semiconductor devices to serve all the requirements of an aerospace application.

For the aerospace industry to prosper, there should indeed be no hindrance in the supply chain of semiconductors. Therefore, a continuous, reliable supply is mandatory for its success.

FAQs

What Is The Difference Between The Aerospace Industry And Aviation Industry?

The aviation industry is all about aircraft-related products within the earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, this industry includes the manufacturing of different types of aircraft that hover within the airspace (airplanes, helicopters, gliders). 

The aerospace industry goes beyond the earth’s atmosphere. The aerospace industry involves the manufacture of aircraft and spacecraft products. This includes passenger and military airplanes, guided missiles, helicopters, gliders, spacecraft, launch vehicles, satellites, and other products related to air and space.

Why Does Radiation Affect Semiconductor Devices In Outer Space?

The space radiation that exists in outer space can cause degradation, malfunctioning of the device, and interruptions. It is because the flow of space radiation in outer space consists of 85% protons and 15% heavy nuclei.

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