Government to expand radiation-hardened microelectronics program with Boeing

FORT BELVOIR, Va., 7 Jan. 2010. Experts in radiation-hardened electronics at The Boeing Co. in Seattle are adding five years and $30 million to a U.S. government program to research radiation-hardened complex microelectronics and photonics devices for commercial avionics and other aerospace and defense applications.

Posted by John Keller

FORT BELVOIR, Va., 7 Jan. 2010. Experts in Radiation hardened electronics at The Boeing Co. in Seattle are adding five years and $30 million to a U.S. government program to research radiation-hardened complex microelectronics and photonics devices for commercial avionics and other aerospace and defense applications.

The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at Fort Belvoir, Va., is adding a five-year option and raising the cost ceiling from $60 million to $90 million for the DTRA Radiation Hardened Microelectronics (RHM) Program, which DTRA launched with Boeing in 2004 to produce electronic devices able to withstand exposure to radiation.

Boeing's rad-hard work for DTRA involves advanced electronics and photonics devices at sub-micron architecture scales of 90, 65, 45, and 32 nanometers that are able to resist the effects of space radiation and nuclear weapons. Microelectronics devices that Boeing is researching may achieve sub-micron geometries and be able to resist the effects of a radiation dosage of as much as 2 megarads.

Boeing experts will continue rad-hard research work in three primary areas:

-- develop electronic design automation (EDA) and technology computer aided design (TCAD) technology to radiation harden complex microelectronics and photonics devices;

-- model and simulate the radiation response of microelectronic and photonic technologies; and

-- design prototype radiation-hardened digital, analog, and mixed signal integrated circuits, system-on-chip (SOC) devices, and system-in-package (SIP) developed with EDA and TCAD technology.

The DTRA RHM program includes the Boeing Radiation Hardening-by-Design (RHBD) program to develop 90-nanometer rad-hard integrated circuits -- such as a general-purpose microprocessor, static random access memories (SRAMS), phase-locked loop (PLL) devices, and serializer/deserializer (SERDES) devices -- able to withstand a total ionizing radiation dose of more than 2 megarads, and to extend this technology to smaller IC geometries of 65, 45, and 32 nanometers.

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