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Neutron Voltaics for Deep Space Missions

University Of Nebraska at Omaha/NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, Glenn Research Center, Ames Research Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate, Science Mission Directorate, Space Technology Mission Directorate

Complete PECVD system showing plasma chamber on the left and instrument control track on the right.

Prof. Axel Enders, Science PI, University of Nebraska, Lincoln www.nasa.gov/epscor/stimuli

Dr. Sheila G. Bailey, NASA Technical Monitor, Glenn Research Center

The goal of this project is to develop a boron carbide based p-i-n neutron/alpha particle voltaic device that can be ultimately employed to power NASA deep space probes. This goal will be achieved by pursuing 4 clearly stated objectives during this 3-year project. In agreement with our research plan, we performed research addressing our objective #1 “Develop boron carbide based semiconductor materials with enhanced charge separation to allow for efficient charge collection in neutron voltaic devices”, and partially addressing our objective #2 “Explore a matrix of dopant materials to control the electronic properties of boron carbide in order to yield the most effective devices.” In addition, we prepared the infrastructure to grow thicker boron carbide films, which enables us to perform research addressing objective #3 “Develop approaches to grow thick materials for the I layer without sacrificing material properties” and objective #4 “Design, fabricate and test p-i-n device structures for neutron voltaic applications” in years 2 and 3. Key to success is our close collaboration between nanomaterials scientists, device engineers, and theorists.

NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15

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EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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