SAN FRANCISCO — Programmable logic vendor Xilinx Inc. Monday (July 19) announced what it called the industry's first high-density, radiation-hardened reconfigurable FPGA for use in outer space applications.
Xilinx (San Jose, Calif.) 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 znd 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.
"It's a big thing we are trying to do here," Dhir said. "Our customers are going to be able to do a lot more with what we are offering."
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.
It is a great leap ahead, reconfigurable FPGAs will help in updating the entire design of the satellites, and will be very much helpful to keep pace with the updating standards and technologies in satellite communication, data collection and processing, even they will be able to correct the bugs on the fly. Truely great leap ahead.
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