Xilinx
0821 Mw St Micro Xilinx Rad Hard Fpg As Promo

STMicro’s Space-Qualified Regulators Power Xilinx’s Rad-Hard FPGAs

Aug. 25, 2021
ST worked closely with Xilinx to design a power source that ensures reliable operation of the XQRKU060 by providing fixed-point voltage accuracy and stability in the face of transients.

Radiation-hardened FPGAs for satellite-communications applications need power from circuitry that’s just as capable of withstanding the rigors of spaceflight. To that end, STMicroelectronics is collaborating with Xilinx to build a power solution for the latter’s Kintex UltraScale XQRKU060 radiation-tolerant FPGAs, leveraging QML-V qualified voltage regulators from ST’s space-products portfolio.

The programmability of the Xilinx XQRKU060 revolutionizes the economics of equipment like space-research instruments and commercial satellites. The device delivers a combination of high compute density and integration that historically required an application-specific IC (ASIC), which typically involves custom design with associated engineering expenses and turnaround time. Unlike an ASIC, the XQRKU060 FPGA can be reconfigured in orbit, allowing bug fixes and updates to be applied cost-effectively at any time to protect the mission.

ST worked closely with Xilinx to design a power source that ensures reliable operation of the XQRKU060 by providing high fixed-point voltage accuracy as well as stability in the event of transients due to normal FPGA operation and radiation events. The solution uses ST’s RHRPMPOL01 rad-hard, point-of-load, 7-A monolithic synchronous step-down regulator and RHFL6000A linear voltage regulator, all single-event-latchup (SEL)-immune and QML-V qualified. These devices meet the requirement for an input voltage up to 12 V and output voltage down to 0.8 V. Both exhibit high fixed-point accuracy with radiation performance that ensures high resistance to total ionizing dose (TID), thereby minimizing any output-voltage drift.

With their fast-transient response, the RHRPMPOL01 and RHFL6000A maintain the regulated output in the event of large and rapid changes in current demand as the FPGA continuously activates and deactivates internal circuitry during normal operation. Their radiation hardness also resists disruption due to single-event transient (SET) radiation encountered in space.

This power solution helps simplify and shorten the development time for next-generation flexible, reprogrammable space systems that leverage the Xilinx XQRKU060 FPGA to benefit from faster project completion, lower mission costs, and greater reliability and fault resilience.

The RHRPMPOL01 (SMD 5962R20208) is a complete point-of-load (PoL) converter that contains an N-channel power MOSFET, bootstrap diode, and system protection. By supporting synchronization and current sharing, it can handle demanding loads such as FPGAs, as well as microprocessors and ASICs. The device is Radiation Hardness Assured (RHA) up to 100 krad(Si), and SEL- and Single-Event Snap-Back (SESB)-free up to 70Mev.cm2/mq. Single-event upset (SEU) and single-event functional interruption (SEFI) are characterized at 7-V operating voltage.

The RHFL6000A (SMD 5962F15216) is a low-dropout regulator with adjustable output voltage, built-in protection, and circuitry for remote sensing and external inhibit control. Dedicated internal circuitry for absorbing transients ensures SET below 3.3% of  VOUT at 120MeV, and the device is SEL-free up to 120Mev.cm2/mq.

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