Advanced SiCN Materials and Sensors for Generation IV Reactors

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sporian Microsystems, Inc.
515 Courtney Way Suite B
Lafayette, CO 80026
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Advancements are needed to improve and optimize the performance of existing and future nuclear power plants and nuclear power systems by developing and improving the reliability of advanced instrumentation. Improvements and advances are needed for systems and component technologies that ultimately would be used in the design, construction, or operation of existing and future nuclear power plants, and Generation IV nuclear power systems. Of particular need are sensors and instrumentation with improved reliability and accuracy that can withstand temperatures in excess of 1600 C and harsh environments encountered in advanced Generation IV reactors. Sporian Microsystems, Inc. has established a solid track record of successful research and development of polymer derived SiCN high temperature sensors and packaging architectures. SiCN is a relatively new class of high temperature ceramic materials synthesized by thermal decomposition of polymeric precursors, which possesses excellent mechanical properties, tunable electric properties and superior oxidation and corrosion resistance at high temperatures up to 1600 C. This facilitating technology, along with packaging and electronics knowledge leveraged from prior efforts, will be used to realize the needed sensors for Generation IV nuclear power system applications. In Phase I, Sporian experimentally evaluated/demonstrated the suitability of SiCN material formulations as functional materials in Generation IV reactors, and developed preliminary sensor hardware designs for future development. Based on the results of Phase I, in Phase II Sporian will research, develop, and test prototype sensors suitable for Generation IV reactor monitoring applications, culminating with the demonstration of fully functional prototype devices in application relevant environments. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Specific groups that stand to directly benefit from the proposed sensor suites include nuclear generator OEMs and operators, fossil fuel turbine and boiler OEMs and operators, petroleum refineries, propulsion turbine OEMs and operators and industrial furnace OEMs and operators. Customers and owners of these organizations also stand to benefit directly from the proposed technology as operational efficiencies are realized in lower prices for customers and increased shareholder value for owners. Society at large will tend to benefit from these developments as operational efficiencies manifest as decreases in fuel consumption and emissions and diversity in energy supply.