As the power consumption of data center applications has grown, power devices have found their way into products across different market segments such as information technology, electric motor drives, grid infrastructure, automotive, and aerospace. This resurgence of wide-bandgap devices is not only driving growth by enabling high volume manufacturing and reduction in cost, but also innovation in material and packaging technologies lead to improvement in reliability and novel device types.
Electronic components have become more ubiquitous in the last few years. Thanks to technological advancement, they are finding their way into more product categories and industries than ever before. One such recent advancement is the Internet of Things (IoT), which is a network of interconnected systems that communicate using a network protocol. The difference between the current internet and IoT is the heterogeneity. Systems of different functionality, technology and applications will belong to the same communication environment. The mantra that every component and system manufacturer is adopting these days is to make things “smarter.” What started with smart phones is now evolving into the smart watch, smart home, smart city, smart grid, smart retail, smart farming and the list goes on.
When compared to the electronic systems in industries like commercial and industrial equipment, today’s avionics systems face several unique challenges. In addition to operating in rugged environments for long periods of time, they must also satisfy rigorous safety and reliability standards. Most importantly, unlike other industries, they must meet these standards while using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) semiconductor devices (logic, memory, etc.) and electronic assemblies that have been designed and qualified for other applications with less rigorous requirements.
Most of the microcircuits used in Aerospace, Defense and High Performance (ADHP) applications today are commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components targeted for markets other than ADHP, with required lifetimes that are typically significantly shorter than those of ADHP applications. COTS component manufacturers evaluate their components’ expected lifetimes in the target applications, but provide little or no information for ADHP applications. Thus, it is the responsibility of the ADHP user to conduct the appropriate analyses and, where necessary, mitigate for shorter-than-required lifetimes.