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.