Microchip is now shipping engineering silicon for the company’s radiation-tolerant (RT) PolarFire FPGA while it is being qualified to spaceflight component reliability standards.
The launch of the engineering silicon will allow developers to create hardware prototypes that have the same electrical and mechanical performance as the space-qualified FPGAs will provide.
“This is a major milestone as we release RT PolarFire FPGA engineering silicon to our customers and begin the spaceflight qualification process through full QML Class V standards,” said Bruce Weyer, vice president of Microchip’s FPGA business unit. “Many of our customers have already jump-started satellite system payload development using our commercial PolarFire MPF500T FPGAs and now all prototyping can be done with silicon that will be identical in form, fit and function to our eventual flight-qualified RT PolarFire FPGAs.”
Microchip is currently qualifying its RT PolarFire RTPF500T FPGAs to Mil Std 883 Class B, QML Class Q and QML Class V. These are the highest qualification and screening standards for monolithic ICs in space. The RT PolarFire FPGAs have been designed to survive a rocket launch and meet demanding performance needs in space They are ideal for space applications such as high-resolution passive and active imaging, precision remote scientific measurement, multi-spectral and hyper-spectral imaging, and object detection and recognition using neural networks.
Microchip’s RT PolarFire FPGAs offer higher computational performance to allow satellite payloads to transmit processed information rather than raw data. This maximises the efficiency of downlink bandwidth. The devices provide higher performance, logic density and serializer-SERDES bandwidth of any other currently available space-qualified FPGA.
They have been developed to withstand Total Ionizing Dose (TID) exposure beyond the 100 kilorads (kRads) typical of most earth-orbiting satellites and many deep-space missions. They also feature a power-efficient architecture that cuts power consumption up to 50 percent compared to SRAM FPGAs. They also use SONOS configuration switches to eliminate the problem of configuration upsets due to radiation in space.
The RT PolarFire RTPF500T FPGA engineering models are manufactured in a hermetically sealed ceramic package with land grid, solder ball and solder column termination options.