The evaluation of possible nanotechnology developments for space application, the results of which are summarized in table I in the appendix, allows a differentiated assessment regarding space relevant topics. Although the evaluation of individual components is surely problematic, for example regarding the contribution of a single component to space objectives or to economic benefits, and a very rough evaluation grid was used, at least qualitative statements can be derived regarding the potential benefits of nanotechnological components for space applications.

In illustration 24 the total evaluations of the individual nanotechnological components are depicted. It should be noted that a higher importance was attached to the state of technology developments (maximum score 5) in the evaluation than to the remaining evaluation criteria (maximum score 2), which appeared meaningful in the sense of a short term utilization for space technology.

The following nanotechnological topics/components were rated as most relevant:

• MRAM/Magnetoelectronics (78 %)

M , , , , • Nanooptoelectronics, particularly QD lasers (75 %)

nology applications in • III/V- semiconductor solar cells (75 % )

space technology

In illustration 23 the evaluation of these topics is shown in a net diagram classified with regard to the single evaluation criteria.

State of development

State of development

-A- III/V semiconductor solar cells > QD-Laser - * - Magnetoelectronics/MRAM

Illustration 23: Evaluation diagram for space travel-relevant nano-technology components (data source see table I in the appendix, level of development standardized on diagram scale)

A common feature of these components is a high applicability under space conditions, a high potential economic benefit for space as well as a relatively high state of technology development, i.e. a high market readiness for the terrestrial market and/or first qualifying measures for space already accomplished, so that a short to medium-term space utilization is possible. Regarding the applicability under space conditions all three components were rated with „high", since magnetoelectronic components, QD lasers and III/V semiconductor solar cells exhibit properties, which favour the employment under the extreme ambient conditions in space, e.g. an increased radiation hardness.

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Magnetoelectronicsf MRAM Quantum dot laser IllfV-semiconductor solar cells HF-components (HEMT, HBT, SAW) SOI memories Polymer thin film solar cells CNTfCNT-composites Nanoparticle reinforced polymers X-ray mirrors and optics Nanostructured ceramic fiber composites Batteries^ thin film batteries Fuel cells

Thermal protection layers Magnetic nanocomposites Aerogels

Metal-Matrix-Composites Nanomotors, positioning systems Friction and wear reducing layers Nanocrystalline metals Scanning probe techniques Nano-SIMS Tunneling components Lab-on-a-chip systems Nanostructured gas sensors Supercapsf Nanocaps Photonic crystals Electronic noses Ferrofluids

Nanostructured ceramics FRAM

Al-Nanopowder as rocket propellant

Nanomembranes for life support systems


coated foils on the basis of ISAM

Heat eKchangers

Quantum dot solar cells


Organic solar cells

Molekular electronics

Biomimetic nanomaterials

Biological data memory

QD-IR sensors

Nanomaterials for gas storage Drug delivery systems Biomimetic sensors Millipede

Quantum information processing

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D C D !-



■5 r re

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Illustration 24: Total evaluation of selected space relevant nanotechnological components (data source table I in the appendix, explanations see chapter 5.8)

Regarding a potential economic space benefit all three components were High potential econo- also evaluated high. Magnetoelectronic sensors and memory chips offer mic benefit for space the potential for the miniaturization of space subsystems such as AOCS

or the on board data processing, whereby mass and energy savings can be realized, which are directly connected with cost savings as described in chapter 4.1. III/V semiconductor solar cells due to their clearly higher conversion efficiency compared with other types of solar cells likewise allow weight reductions, respectively an improved power supply, which in particular represent a crucial competition advantage for commercial telecommunications satellites. QD Lasers offer application possibilities in the optical satellite telecommunications, which are regarded as a future market in space.

The state of development was rated highest for III/V semiconductor solar cells, since these have already been used in space for some years in particular by NASA, but however still exhibit optimization potential. Also magnetoelectronic components show a high level of development. So, magnetoelectronic sensors are already widespread in the terrestrial market and MRAM chips are expected to penetrate the market in 2004. Low performance MRAM have already been manufactured by the company Honeywell for special military and space applications for some years now. The market readiness for QD lasers in the terrestrial market is expected soon and first space qualifying measures have already been accomplished.

High potential for Larger differences exist regarding the economic potential in the terrestrial magnetoelectronic market. Here III/V semiconductor solar cells are rated low, since they are magnetoelectronic ' J

and optoelectronic clearly more expensive compared with competitive systems, and the hig-

nano-components in her conversion efficiency represents a smaller competition advantage in terrestrial markets the terrestrial market than in space. Magnetoelectronic components ho wever exhibit a high marktet potential in different industrial sectors. In the field of information technology GMR sensors are used for example in read heads for hard disk drives and for MRAM a high market potential is prognosticated as replacement for DRAM memory. Applications of magnetoelectronic sensors are also found in the automobile and Life Sciences sectors. Nano-optoelectronical components, in particular QD lasers, offer high marktet potentials, particularly in the ICT sector e.g. for future laser TV or in the optical data communication.

Regarding the contribution to space objectives, all three components are rated medium. Although the contribution to space objectives of an individual component surely is difficult to evaluate, it can be anticipated that the described nanotechnological components could bring significant advantages. Magnetoelectronical components could improve the capabilites and the on-board autonomy of spacecrafts, reduce the mission risks, increase mission flexibility as well as supply contributions to cost reductions through improved, miniaturized sensors and memories. III/V semiconductor solar cells contribute primarily to an improved functionality through a more efficient power supply. Nano-optoelectronic components could supply a contribution to an increased functionality, cost reduction and new conceptions for optical data processing and transmission in the range of optical satellite telecommunications.

As a result regarding the application potential of nanotechnology in space, the following statements can be derived:

• A potential for short to medium-term applications in space is in particular shown by components for data processing and transmission systems, which exhibit higher performance, lower energy consumption and improved radiation hardness compared with conventional components (e.g. MRAM, SOI, QD laser etc.)

• The main nanotechnological innovation impulse for space is only to Main innovation impulse be expected in a period of 10 to 15 years from now. Still unclear is in of nanotechnology for how far nanotechnology can fulfill the high expectations, as they were formulated for example in different technological roadmaps of NASA. Intensive research activities within these ranges appear at least in Germany to be unrealistical in view of restricted space budgets. Different however is the situation in the USA, where NASA spends approx. a quarter of their nanotechnological budget for basic research.

• Some approaches of molecular nanotechnology and nanobiotechno-logy reach still further into the future and have partly visionary character. Biomimetic sensors, materials with self-healing properties or ultra strong materials on the basis of carbon nanotubes should be mentioned here for example.

space technology is to be expected in 10 to 15 years

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