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Next-Generation Electronic Systems for Innovative New Space Technologies and for the Nation's Science, Exploration and Economic Future
Jaemi Lee Herzberger
University of Maryland


Jaemi Herzberger
In this study, the applicant (Ms Jaemi Herzberger) will focus on identifying the reliability challenges in long-life electronic systems that have to endure sustained exposure to environmental and operational stresses such as temperature, humidity and power. This topic was selected because electronic systems are a critical component of many projects at NASA dealing with space technology, making their reliability critical to the success of the mission.

This research is also the topic of the MS thesis research for Jaemi. Jaemi is currently a senior in her BS program at the University of Maryland (Mechanical Engineering Dept) and has been selected for a highly competitive accelerated MS program in the same department, in view of her academic excellence. The research will be conducted under the auspices of the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE) at the University of Maryland in College Park, which is an acknowledged world leader in the Physics of Failure (PoF) approach to develop and qualify complex highly-reliable electronic systems. NASA has been a very active research sponsor at CALCE for over 10 years and is currently a super-member. Over the years, CALCE has collaborated with several different labs and programs at NASA, including JPL, GSFC, HW and NEP. CALCE has also collaborated on study of space electronics with other NASA contractors; such as a study of chip-on-board technology for deep space probes in collaboration the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University.

For this study, Jaemi is going to use the physics of failure methods developed at the CALCE Center. The first step in this approach is to conduct tailored accelerated stress testing and failure analysis to identify the dominant failure mechanisms. In this study, Jaemi will focus predominantly on temperature, humidity and electrical power as the sources of stress and aging/degradation. The next step is to use well-accepted stress analysis and physics-based failure models, to obtain acceleration transforms that can be used to extrapolate the test results to expected life cycle conditions. The outcome is a quantitative understanding of the life-cycle durability of the product and insights into potential for design improvements.

Although, the test specimens that Jaemi will select for this study are from next-generation outdoor solid-state lighting electronics, they share many commonalities with space electronic systems: such as long life (approximately 10-plus years) equipment without maintenance or service; and severe cyclic excursions of power, temperature and humidity. Thus, lessons learned from this project will be of great relevance to space electronics built and deployed by NASA and will be made available to NASA through the CALCE consortium reports.

We are requesting 12 months of support under this fellowship, commencing in Aug 2011. At the end of that year, Jaemi expects to graduate with a MS degree. During summer and Fall of 2012, CALCE will make arrangements for Jaemi to spend some time at a particiapting NASA lab, to transfer her research results to mission engineers there and to gain internship experience.