Thermal Testing of Non-Volatile Memories

Three types of non-volatile memory chips were examined in this research. Each of the memory chips under test were observed in an experiment that attempted to simulate some aspects of space conditions. While there are more tests to be done to determine how bursts of cosmic radiation affects these memory technologies, it was determined in this experiment that the extremes of the temperatures the devices shall be subjected to in space do not affect the normal operation of the memory.

Introduction

In space, the question of whether new non-volatile memory (NVM) technology still functions properly remains an unsolved research topic. As manufacturer data sheets for electrical components are created based on data collected from tests done on Earth, and most electrical components aren’t designed with low Earth orbit (LEO) operation in mind, it is not a foregone conclusion that these components will operate according to manufacturer specifications in space conditions. These arduous conditions provide an immense engineering challenge in designing components that are hardened against wild temperature fluctuations, bombardment from galactic cosmic radiation, solar particle events, and more (Keys 2008) (Xapsos 2012).