BAE Systems wins certification for radiation-hardened integrated circuits for use in space
MANASSAS, Va., 11 Aug. 2015. Microelectronics experts at BAE Systems have achieved the U.S. Department of Defense Qualified Manufacturers List (QML) Level V radiation-hardened certification for the company's next-generation 45-nanometer application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for use in space applications.
Technicians create the radiation-hardened 45-nanometer ASICS at the BAE Systems Electronics Systems segment in Manassas, Va., which is home to the company's BAE Systems Semiconductor Technology Center (STC).
The small-geometry microchips from BAE Systems have completed three years of radiation-hardened testing where they were evaluated against rad-hard criteria by the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to achieve QML certification.
QML Level V testing is the industry’s most strenuous and proves the ability of the BAE Systems 45-nanometer ASICS to perform reliably and withstand the effects of exposure to space radiation in orbit, company officials.
Naturally occurring radiation in space, which is more severe than it is on Earth, can cause a variety of problems in digital circuitry, ranging from random bit flips to component burnout. QML Level V certification ensures that electronic devices can operate through radiation and work reliably for long periods.
Among the tests the BAE Systems 45-nanometer ASIC technology went through for QML Level V certification were 2,000 to 5,000 hours of voltage and temperature changes to mimic the harsh and complex environment of space.
QML Level V is part of the U.S. military's MIL-PRF-38535 standard, which that establishes performance and verification requirements of single-die integrated circuits used in military applications and high-reliability microcircuit applications.
QML involves statistical process control to ensure the quality of integrated circuits without the need for destructive testing on each lot of electronic devices manufactured.
"We’re designing and building powerful chips that are fundamental to the success of a space mission, and these new 45-nanometer chips revolutionize what can be accomplished during these missions,” says Ian McDonald, director of space products and processing for BAE Systems.
Achieving QML V certification "is an assurance that our 45-nanometer ASIC technology is qualified, reliable, and ready to help industry accomplish its next great progression in space,” McDonald says.
The BAE Systems 45-nanometer ASICs pack 10 times more functionality and performance into the same size as currently qualified chips, company officials say.