Over the last year or so I’ve become very interested in the effects of radiation on electronic systems. As chip technologies shrink in size to 28nm and below, devices become increasingly susceptible to the effects of radiation. This is no longer a problem of interest only to aerospace applications – it’s starting to impinge on terrestrial applications.
Check out my recent blogs: Xilinx new rad-hard Virtex-5QV FPGAs – what a good idea! (Click Here) and I’m so happy with my (now working) Geiger counter (Click Here).
Anyway, this explains why I was rather interested by the recent announcement from Ridgetop Group, which reads as follows:
Ridgetop Group announced today that it is now the exclusive worldwide distributor of Raytheon’s TopAct, a commercial software productivity tool for all industries and engineering design firms that are involved with radiation-tolerant hardware design, test, and validation. Ridgetop has established the arrangement with Raytheon Company’s Missile Systems business unit, the original developer of TopAct. Relying upon patented technology, the software package enables space, defense, medical imagery, nuclear power, and nuclear research hardware manufacturers to optimize their equipment designs for lower cost, longer life, and improved performance in a radiation environment, thus providing better value for their customers.
Designers typically employ large design margins to compensate for uncertainties in the internal radiation environment. To ensure hardware survives damaging radiation, manufacturers use increased shielding weight and specialty parts for more protection against radiation, driving up the cost of spacecraft, diagnostic equipment, sensors and defense platforms. TopAct provides a significantly more accurate environmental assessment, enabling lighter and less expensive mechanical enclosure designs. TopAct can save customers millions of dollars by providing time-efficient, high fidelity models needed to analyze and optimize mechanical and shielding designs during the engineering phase of complex systems.
Raytheon has used TopAct extensively for its internal applications for over eight years. The newly released version of TopAct employs Siemens’ Parasolid software engine to allow equipment designs developed in any of the major Computer Assisted Design (CAD) environments to be imported directly into most of the industry standard radiation transport analysis codes, such as Los Alamos National Laboratory's MCNP and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s TART.
"The bridge that TopAct provides between CAD and the radiation transport tools enables engineers to search a broader set of radiation-hard product design configurations, rather than simply resorting to thicker shielding," said Andrew Levy, Ridgetop’s Director, Semiconductor and Precision Instruments Division. “For example, expedited analysis time coupled with payload weight reduction leads to significant savings for satellite systems manufacturers.”
Doug Goodman, CEO of Ridgetop Group, added, “Ridgetop has a great deal of experience supplying high performance, radiation-hardened electronic components, tools, and intellectual property (IP) for aerospace systems manufacturers. TopAct will extend our product offering to customers designing advanced satellite and aerospace systems to assure proper protection against space radiation. We are pleased to have the support of Raytheon, and to offer TopAct as another way that we can serve this vital market.”
Visit www.ridgetopgroup.com/products/TopAct for more information about TopAct.
If you found this article to be of interest, visit Programmable Logic Designline
where you will find the latest and greatest design, technology, product, and news articles with regard to programmable logic devices of every flavor and size (FPGAs, CPLDs, CSSPs, PSoCs...).
Also, you can obtain a highlights update delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for my weekly newsletter – just Click Here
to request this newsletter using the Manage Newsletters tab (if you aren't already a member you'll be asked to register, but it's free and painless so don't let that stop you [grin]).