GaAs Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) for Space
Small Business Information
Systems & Processes (Currently Systems & Processes Engineering Corp)
401 Camp Craft Road, Austin, TX, 78746
Dr. Newton B. Penrose
AbstractSystems & Processes Engineering Corp. (SPEC) proposed the development of a GaAs Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) for spaceborne applications. Digital Gate Array ICs combine functions of many logic gates into a single chip to improve speed, weight, and power dissipation. Field programmable gate arrays reduce cost to first functional chip by an order of magnitude. Presently no FPGAs are qualified for space radiation environment. The project applies GaAs technology to FPGAs to impact this problem and achieve higher speed of operation and increased radiation-hardness as compared to CMOS technology (GaAs IC technology provides 3X higher speed than non-rad-hard CMOS and at least 10X higher total dose radiation-hardness than rad-hard (CMOS). Advantages of GaAs FPGA for space applications are: miniaturization of logic functions obtained without NRE costs to make a custom IC, costs for rad-hardening and reliability testing for space qualification can be amortized over many applications, high speed (clock at 100 Mhz to 1 GHz) obtained at modest power dissipation, and total-dose radiation-hardness is better than CMOS. GaAs single event upset hardness can be achieved with standard rad-hard circuit design techniques.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.