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Reliability of SiC Digital Telemetry Circuit on AlN Substrate
Keywords: Silicon Carbide, Digital Telemetry, Geothermal
GE Global Research, under contract to develop sensor systems for U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Office, is building a digital telemetry module for the purpose of sensing and transmitting pressure measurements from a geothermal well at temperatures up to 300°. The reliability target is continuous operation at 300°C for at least 400 hours, and survives 4 hours of 20G RMS random vibration at 300°C. The integrated circuits are designed and fabricated by GE, and the high temperature circuit board substrates are fabricated and assembled by Dr. Wayne Johnson’s team at Auburn University. The final system assembly and testing are performed at GE. The telemetry module consists of digital circuit blocks that interpret sensor signals and outputs single bit streams. Digital integrated circuits were designed and fabricated using silicon carbide (SiC) n-type MOSFETs. Functional blocks of digital counter, shift register, and buffer were flip-chip bonded to patterned gold thin-film aluminum nitride substrate circuit board as part of the digital telemetry module. The assembled telemetry module was tested for functionality in a lab oven at 300°C. The telemetry module proves to operate continuously for 1000 hours. The telemetry module was vibrated on a shaker with 20G RMS random vibration in a 300°C environment. The flip-chip bonds are robust up to 200 hours of vibration, and the SiC ICs survive at least 400 hours of high temperature operation plus 16 hours of vibration at 300°C.
Cheng-Po Chen, Electrical Engineer
GE Global Research
Niskayuna, NY
USA


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