LONDON Tower Semiconductor Ltd., an independent specialty foundry, and Ramon Chips Ltd., a fabless company that specializes in space applications, announced Tuesday (July 3) the completion of a prototype radiation-hardened System-on-Chip (SoC) controller for space applications. The SoC is being fabricated on Tower's 0.18-micron CMOS process technology.
The SoC controller operates at a clock frequency of 150-MHz, and the on-chip SpaceWire interface achieves 250-Mbit/s transfer rates. The product is expected to sustain cosmic radiation and harsh environmental conditions and is thus useful for all space missions in earth-orbiting satellites. It is also intended for high-reliability avionic applications.
The SoC controller has been designed and fabricated using Ramon Chips' radiation proofing methodology and standard cell library, which assure radiation hardness of parts fabricated in Tower Semiconductor's manufacturing lines.
According to a presentation from Professor Ran Ginosar, CEO of Ramon Chips, given to the Israeli Nano-Satellite Association (INSA) in 2007, the controller is an implementation of the Leon-3 32-bit Sparc processor from Gaisler Research AB ((Gothenburg, Sweden) and partnumbered it GR702RC. That part was tested at 120-MHz clock frequency. A second-generation device, the GR712RC, is being designed with two Leon-3 processor cores, more extensive peripherals and cache memory on-chip.
Another prototype chip fabricated using the same RadSafe library and the same Tower Semiconductor 0.18-micron CMOS process has been tested successfully at radiation levels of 300-krads and had sustained no radiation-induced latch-ups and few soft error events per bit per day.
"We are satisfied with the accomplishment of the radiation hardened high performance product on Tower's 0.18-micron technology platform," said Professor Ginosar, in a statement issued by Tower.
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