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.