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Radiation-hardened FPGA for outer space use

Posted: 21 Jul 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FPGA? aerospace?

Programmable logic vendor Xilinx Inc. announced what it called the industry's first high-density, radiation-hardened reconfigurable FPGA for use in outer space applications.

Xilinx has been offering radiation-tolerant devices for the space market for more than 10 years, but off-the-shelf Virtex-5QV FPGA is the first to feature added circuitry at the design level to offer much higher radiation immunity, including a total ionizing dose (TID) tolerance of greater than 700 Krads (Si), according to Amit Dhir, senior director of Xilinx' aerospace/defense and high-performance computing business.

Because Xilinx' radiation-tolerant FPGAs have lower radiation immunity levels, customers are often forced to dedicate a large portion of the devices' logic to mitigate their tolerance, Dhir said.

"Our customers used to take our devices and have mitigation schemes built in which would use a lot of the logic," Dhir said. "Now, because we've built it into the circuitry, we've done all the mitigation for them and they have all this logic to do high-performance designs in space."

Xilinx describes the Virtex-5QV as an off-the-shelf, rad-hardened version of its commercial Virtex-5, which customers can use to prototype with until the Virtex-5QV is commercially available in the first half of next year. The Virtex-5QV integrates many of the same hard-IP system level blocks, such as flexible 36-Kbit/18-Kbit block RAM/FIFOs, second-generation 25x18 DSP slices, power-optimized high-speed serial transceiver blocks for enhanced serial connectivity and PCI Express compliant integrated Endpoint blocks, according to Xilinx.

The Virtex-5QV offers 130,000 logic cells, 320 DSP slices supporting fixed and floating point operations, and 836 user I/Os programmable to more than 30 different standards for applications and ease of interfacing to a wide variety of system, Xilinx said. In addition to exceptional TID tolerance, the Virtex-5QV provides strong protection against single event upsets and total immunity to single-event latchup, as well as data path protection from single-event transients, according to Xilinx.

Development of the Virtex-5QV was sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory based in New Mexico.

The Virtex-5QV device will be sampling in the current quarter with general production availability planned for first half calendar year 2011, Xilinx said.

- EE Times





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