Surface Technologies: An Overview

Carbosurf and Carbosurf+ (Carbo+) Innovative Technologies

Few advanced, innovative technologies of ion beam surface treatments and proprietary thin films multifunctional coatings formation on space polymeric films materials by direct ion beam deposition were developed. Controlled surface resistivity (SR) in a wide range of charge dissipative SR values with negligibly low Radio Frequency (RF) losses and other important functional properties have been achieved, beneficial for production of modern space antennae and solar arrays for GEO environment. A big achievement was the comparatively low temperature dependence of treated polymeric surface and the deposited coating.

Enhancement of radiation stability has been shown for space polymers that were ion beam treated and coated with these special multifunctional thin coatings. The treated/coated subjects have been successfully ground-based and tested in a range of radiation conditions, simulating the GEO radiation environment, conducted in three world-recognized GEO simulation facilities, and the materials have been space qualified. A big achievement was the comparatively low temperature dependence of treated polymeric surface and the deposited coating.

Long-term Enhanced and Improved Performance of Space Antennas in GEO – work for and with MDA (Montreal)

High-performance space polymeric film materials, treated with these technologies, have been used as horn aperture covers on high power space antennas. There is no other material available on the market that can withstand the very high RF power density seen on some horn aperture covers, while meeting the ESD requirements of being static-dissipative. The RF power handling of Carbosurf+ before thermal runaway proved to be at least 5 times higher than conventional semi-conductive coatings like Germanium on Kapton100HN. This material was used as horn covers on a total of 30 antennas/feeds. These 30 antennas/feeds are currently installed on 11 different spacecraft!


Next came the very special Electric Orbit Raising (EOR) launch requirements, and we at ITL are working to enhance our technology by special sophisticated doping of the deposited thin coatings in order to meet those requirements.

Carbo+ Special Version used on Flexible Cable Conductors (FCCs) for Solar Arrays in GEO

A method of making charge dissipative of both surfaces of Flexible Cable Conductors (FCCs), used for Solar Arrays in GEO, by specially developed ion beam surface treatment was developed. FCC’s surfaces made of dielectric space polymer Kapton100HN with shaped/grooved front surfaces and back surfaces, containing embedded inorganic particles, have been made charge dissipative, with required values of surface resistivity and in a wide space-defined temperature range. The method comprises controllably carbonizing the surface of the polymer-based material in a vacuum environment with simultaneous surface renewal, by bombarding the surface with an ion beam from a linear gaseous high-current technological ion beam source of inert gas with added required amount of a carbonaceous gases for simultaneous carbonized surface renewal in a dynamic way. Surface resistivity values of ~10 MΩ/square at room temperature were achieved. The treated FCCs kept the surface charge dissipation properties at least in the space-related temperature range of ±150 °C, have been shown to be resistant to thermal cycling, being durable, radiation resistant and surface charge dissipative in simulated GEO environment for at least 15 years of GEO space equivalent, with the influence on the final thermal optical properties almost the same as on original FCCs surfaces.



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