Turkish engineers have developed a nanotechnology-based material that is 100 times more durable against extraterrestrial radiation than materials currently in use.
The new material was reportedly developed by a project group supported by the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey, or TÜBİTAK, and implemented by the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry, or SSM. The new material is planned for use in satellites, which will be produced in Turkey.
Because the new generation nanotechnology-based material remarkably enhances the durability of the high-speed electronic circuits of satellites in the extraterrestrial environment, it provides a significant cost-saving advantage. The material also allows for the production of lighter-weight satellites.
Scientists plan to make Turkey the first country to ever use the technology in space.
Lighter and more durable
Bilkent University and Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense company, worked together on the production of the material as part of the “TÜBİTAK 1007” project. Professor Ekmel Özbay of Bilkent University’s electric and electronic engineering department and the head of Bilkent University Space Technology Research Center, or BİLUZAY, said remarkable progress had been achieved in producing the high-power and high-speed electronic circuits completely in Turkey.
Electronic circuits have shown minimal longevity in extraterrestrial environments due to high radiation, Özbay said, meaning that satellites are typically protected by a thick aluminum coating that absorbs radiation but drastically increases costs.
The development of the new radiation-proof materials would render satellites less costly and more durable.
“The material we have developed is gallium nitrate-based so it allows us to design lighter satellites and is also fully compatible with extraterrestrial environments,” Özbay said, adding the material was also used in production of transmission antennas, critically important components of satellites.
“We flew the nanotechnology to the moon with our recent study,” Özbay said.
The design and production of the technology developed by BİLUZAY and Aselsan will be used in the first completely nationally-made information satellite subsystem, Özbay said. Fifty researchers are continuing studies at BİLUZAY and the Bilkent University Nanotechnology Research Center, or NANOTAM, to improve similar space technologies, Özbay said.
Özbay said the material, which had previously been used in nanoelectronic circuits produced at BİLUZAY, had never been used in satellites before. “We aim at rendering Turkey the first country ever to use this technology in space.”
Özbay said the new technology would be used in a TURKSAT-5A satellite, a 100-percent-domestic engineering project.