. 24/7 Space News .
AFRL sponsorship recipient wins NASA space manufacturing contract
by Jamie Leigh Cooper for AFRL News
Wright Patterson AFB OH (SPX) May 29, 2022

stock illustration only

Air Force Research Laboratory research sponsorship recipient, United Semiconductors, LLC (USLLC), is one of eight companies selected to work on a three-year, $21 million NASA contract to manufacture tools in space.

Almost two decades ago, AFRL's photonic materials branch began collaborating with Professor Partha Dutta at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and sponsoring his research on the growth of semiconductor crystals. The success of this initial fundamental research project spurred interest for key DOD applications.

Since 2005, AFRL has worked with United Semiconductors, a woman-owned small business in New York to develop a suite of semiconductor and photonic materials for infrared components. The effort started with just two furnaces producing small size crystals for research evaluation. In 2019, after successful demonstration and development, the company moved to southern California and gradually expanded resources to 32 furnaces. AFRL continued to support USLLC through 2020 under contract efforts that supported material development for infrared sensors.

Dr. Peter Schunemann, former president of the American Association of Crystal Growth and chief crystal growth scientist of BAE Systems, said, "Regarding Dr. Partha Dutta, I have known him for many years...he has my utmost respect as a crystal grower. He is certainly one of the most productive researchers ever funded by AFRL. I look forward to seeing the impactful contributions he will make to this ambitious NASA initiative."

The key technological innovation of this work is to grow large diameter semiconductor crystals with high optical quality, which have use in several U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force systems of interest.

Based on the unique properties their material demonstrated, NASA awarded United Semiconductors a contract to develop new technologies using the benefits of microgravity for in-space manufacturing of advanced materials. USLLC will grow semiconductor crystals used in electromagnetic sensors. Under microgravity conditions, the company hopes to produce larger crystals with significantly fewer defects. If successful, the crystals grown in space would produce usable wafers or thin slices of semiconductors used to build circuits.

"The ternary semiconductor crystals that [AFRL] funded him to develop are incredibly challenging," Schunemann said. "Numerous obstacles had to be overcome to achieve device-quality crystals, including severe segregation, compositional nonuniformity, constitutional supercooling, inclusions, voids, cracks and grain boundaries. The fact that he has been able to achieve reproducible crystals with high optical quality, uniformity and precise composition control, and scale these crystals to very large diameters, is nothing short of astounding!"

AFRL has a history of working with fundamental researchers in universities and with small businesses successfully translating key technologies from research scale to system level products.

Raytheon, with help of AFRL, has funded USLLC to grow crystals required to build critical sensor systems. In-space manufacturing and other microgravity advancements can potentially reduce the cost and schedule required to build sensors. According to a Raytheon scientist, Raytheon looks forward to the outcome of this NASA-sponsored program.

NASA hopes to use this collaboration with USLLC and others to demonstrate the benefits of in-space manufacturing and other microgravity advancements that are impossible to make on Earth to make strides toward commercial economy in low-Earth orbit.

As USLLC's contract with NASA progresses, AFRL's photonic materials branch branch continues to fund crystal growth effort for Air Force application from fiscal years 2021 through 2023. To read more about the contract, visit here

Related Links
Air Force Research Laboratory
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Varda Space Industries orders 4th Photon from Rocket Lab for In-Space Manufacturing
Long Beach CA (SPX) May 25, 2022
Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB) and Varda Space Industries, the world's first In-space manufacturing and hypersonic Earth re-entry logistics company, report that Varda will procure a fourth Photon spacecraft. The deal follows on a previous bulk-order by Varda in August 2021 for three Photon spacecraft from Rocket Lab. The Rocket Lab-designed and built Photon spacecraft will provide power, communications, propulsion, and attitude control for Varda's 120 kg in-space manufacturing satellite which will prod ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NanoAvionics and Gama to set sails in space

Boeing Starliner completes key test mission to ISS, with some hiccups

Boeing's Starliner faces one more challenge as it returns to Earth

Soil, sutures, and climate modeling among investigations riding SpaceX CRS-25 Dragon to ISS

Ursa Major announces new engine to replace unavailable Russian-made engines

Southern Launch receives further Government funding

Debris from Chinese rocket reenters atmosphere, mostly burning up

Upper Stage Propulsion System for future Artemis mission reaches major milestone

Ingenuity Adapts for Mars Winter Operations

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captures video of record flight

Blast a Knob: Sols 3485-3486

NASA's Perseverance rover's playlist like no other on Mars

Researchers start planting space-bred seeds returned by Shenzhou-13

New cargo spacecraft being built

The beginning of a multi-spacecraft exploration in Martian space by China, the US and Europe

Tianwen-1 mission marks first year on Mars

Omnispace Spark-2 satellite launched into orbit

OneWeb and TinSky complete first West African LEO Satellite Gateway

Navarino teams with OneWeb to extend connectivity to commercial shipping

Gogo Business Aviation to launch LEO Global Broadband service

AFRL sponsorship recipient wins NASA space manufacturing contract

ICEYE completes its largest satellite launch ever with SpaceX

Sustainable connectivity in space

Mitsubishi Electric develops innovative laser comms terminal

Why haven't we discovered co-orbital exoplanets? Could tides offer a possible answer?

Unistellar and SETI Institute expand Worldwide Citizen-Science Astronomy Network

Planets of binary stars as possible homes for alien life

AI reveals unsuspected math underlying search for exoplanets

Traveling to the centre of planet Uranus

Juno captures moon shadow on Jupiter

Greenland Ice, Jupiter Moon Share Similar Feature

Search for life on Jupiter moon Europa bolstered by new study

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.