To support the demanding nature of space applications, Texas Instruments and National have combined product lines to create a strong and united offering for space applications. Customers can expect no disruption of service as a result of this merger and that TI/National products will continue to be available. By combining portfolios, companies claim they provide a complete signal chain solution for space. Radiation effects
High-energy protons, electrons and charged particles in natural space environments can strongly affect the operation of electronic circuits used in space applications. Radiation is energy in transit, taking the form of high-speed particles and electromagnetic waves. We encounter electromagnetic waves every day. They make up our visible light, radio and television waves, ultraviolet (UV) light and microwaves with a large spectrum of energies. These examples of electromagnetic waves do not cause ionizations of atoms because they do not carry enough energy to separate molecules or remove electrons from atoms. Ionizing radiation is radiation with enough energy so that during an interaction with an atom, it can remove tightly bound electrons from their orbits, causing the atom to become charged or ionized. Examples are gamma rays, protons and neutrons. The most common radiation requirement in the aerospace design community is total ionizing dose (TID), also known as total dose. Total dose irradiation is primarily caused by electrons and protons that penetrate into the silicon and can result in device degradation and/or device failure. Charge buildup affects the current voltage characteristics of transistors used in semiconductor circuits. Proper operation of a transistor relies on the ability to switch it from a low conductance (off) state to a high conductance (on) state as the gate voltage passes through a threshold. Extended exposure to radiation can shift the threshold voltages making the transistors easier or harder to switch. Radiation may also increase the leakage current, causing the on and off states of the transistors to become less distinguishable. Either effect can ultimately cause circuit failure.
HiRel performs total dose testing on all space-qualified, QML Class V new product releases in order to determine how much radiation our devices can absorb before device degradation occurs. The test results for each device are available on request.