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New DARPA Program Looks to Improve Power Efficiency in Space

1 min read

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a three-phase program to find new technologies that can help increase the efficiency of point-of-load power converters used in space.

The Space Power Conversion Electronics program will look at novel devices, designs and engineering to improve the conversion of usable power in radiated space environments, DARPA said Friday.

POL power efficiency declines to as low as 60 percent because of radiation hardening, a form of thermal management to offload heat generated from space-based power consumption, the agency noted.

DARPA intends for the resulting technology to extend the battery life of small low-Earth orbit satellites despite harsh terrains and help provide more electricity to advanced space mission systems.

The first phase of the effort will run for 20 months and focus on creating radiation-tolerant, high-performance, high-voltage transistors.

The second phase will involve low-loss integration development, followed by the demonstration of a high-efficiency conversion circuit to be done during the final phase.