Radiation-tolerant FPGAs for high-speed signal-processing applications

13-04-2015 | MicroSemi | Semiconductors

Availability of its new RTG4 high-speed signal processing radiation-tolerant FPGA family has been announced by Microsemi. The RTG4’s reprogrammable flash technology offers complete immunity to radiation-induced configuration upsets in the harshest radiation environments, requiring no configuration scrubbing, unlike SRAM FPGA technology. RTG4 supports space applications requiring up to 150,000 logic elements and up to 300MHz of system performance.

Typical uses include remote sensing space payloads, such as radar, imaging and spectrometry in civilian, scientific and commercial applications. These applications span across weather forecasting and climate research, land use, astronomy and astrophysics, planetary exploration, and earth sciences. Other applications include mobile satellite services (MSS) communication satellites, as well as high altitude aviation, medical electronics and civilian nuclear power plant control. Such applications have historically used expensive radiation-hardened ASICs, which force development programs to incur substantial cost and schedule risk. RTG4 allows programs to access the ease-of-use and flexibility of FPGAs without sacrificing reliability or performance, says the company.

“We expect that the next 10 years will see an increase of about 25 percent in the number of new spacecraft of 50Kg mass or larger,” said Marco Cáceres, senior analyst and director of space studies for the Virginia-based Teal Group consulting firm. “These new spacecraft will have more sophisticated payload electronics than their predecessors, doing more on-board data processing to maximize data acquisition while dealing with limited downlink bandwidth.”

The flexibility, reliability and performance of RTG4 FPGAs make it much easier to achieve this. RTG4 is Microsemi’s latest development in a long history of radiation-tolerant FPGAs that are found in many NASA and international space programs.

“Space Micro is pleased to be working with Microsemi’s RTG4 FPGAs on our next-generation software-defined radio and also image processing computer, which we are designing for several NASA and international scientific space missions,” added David Strobel, CEO of Space Micro Inc, of San Diego, California. “We believe the high performance and rich feature set of the RTG4 FPGAs, together with our proprietary advanced processing algorithms, will make for a winning combination, creating great value for our space and missile customers.”

Ken O’Neill, director of marketing, space and aviation, Microsemi, concluded: “The introduction of RTG4 FPGAs affirms our strong commitment to the space industry as the leading supplier of FPGAs for applications requiring mitigation of radiation effects. RTG4 FPGAs combine a wealth of features with the highest quality and reliability to meet the increasing demands of modern satellite payloads.”

Key features :

1 - Up to 150,000 logic elements; each includes a four-input combinatorial look-up table (LUT4) and a flip-flop with built-in single event upset (SEU) and single event transient (SET) mitigation
2 - High system performance, up to 300 MHz
3 - 24 serial transceivers, with operation from 1 Gb/sec to 3.125 Gb/sec
4 - 16 SEU- and SET-protected SpaceWire clock and data recovery circuits
5 - 462 SEU- and SET-protected multiply-accumulate mathblocks
6 - More than 5 Mbits of on-board SEU-protected SRAM
7 - Single event latch-up (SEL) and configuration memory upset immunity
8 - Total ionizing dose (TID) beyond 100 Krad

Engineering silicon, Libero SoC development software and RTG4 development kits are available now, says the company.

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