National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network

National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network

Serving Nanoscale Science, Engineering & Technology

Arizona State University engineers aim to improve performance of technology in extreme environments

Two ASU professors recently received a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop technology capable of operating in extreme and hostile environments, such as space.

The grant will fund the work of professors Hugh Barnaby and Michael Kozicki, who are collaborating with other researchers, to make Chalcogenide-based memristor technology. Chalcogenide, a compound used in DVD technology, allows charged atoms to move through a system. The memristor, an incredibly tiny electronic device, is capable of withstanding extremely hostile conditions, where most electronics would suffer damage. This work is conducted, in part, in the NNIN facility at ASU.

The memristor technologies developed by Kozicki and Barnaby are able to function in extreme temperatures from -387 to 440 degrees Fahrenheit — conditions found on Mars and Venus.

These technologies are also capable of withstanding exposure to high-radiation and corrosive bio-environments, such as those found in the human body, potentially improving medical treatments.