UTMC introduces new radiation-hardened IC family

Engineers at UTMC Microelectronic Systems Inc., an Aeroflex company in Colorado Springs, Colo., have designed a rad-hard gate array family for high-reliability space applications.

By John McHale

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Engineers at UTMC Microelectronic Systems Inc., an Aeroflex company in Colorado Springs, Colo., have designed a rad-hard gate array family for high-reliability space applications.

The new family of rad-hard devices is for applications that require high immunity to single-event-upsets (SEU) and feature more than 1 megarad of total-dose hardness, company officials say.

UTMC experts fabricate the UT0.6 micron SRH in a commercial 0.6-micron silicon gate CMOS process that uses a special process module run in American Microcircuits Inc.'s commercial foundry in Pocatello, Idaho.

This process enhances the total-dose radiation hardness of the field and gate oxides while maintaining circuit density, reliability, and commercial silicon performance, UTMC officials say.

"This is the first product that is fabricated in a commercial fab, that is [single event latchup] immune, and is guaranteed to have a hardness of at least 1 megarad," claims Peter Milliken, ASIC product line manager at UTMC.

"The introduction of radiation-hardened products from a commercial fab is significant because it allows commercial and military space products to take advantage of the rapid advances in commercial silicon technology," he says.

Military customers can now purchase megarad products at commercial prices through the use of lower-cost commercial silicon, he adds. This will force facilities like Honeywell to lower their prices to compete, Milliken claims. "I can match them in total dose, single event upset, prompt dose, and SEU latchup requirements," he says.

UTMC can also sell to commercial and military customers, unlike government facilities like the National Security Agency at Fort Mead, Md., which can only sell to government-sponsored programs, he says.

The introduction of this family will enable UTMC to survive in a shrinking market, Milliken says. There used to be about two dozen foundries, now there are just a few, he adds. "We can't afford to run a $40-to-$50 million foundry unless we are subsidized like Honeywell and [BAE Systems in Manassas, Va., formerly Lockheed Martin]," Milliken explains.

"The UT0.6 micron SRH follows UTMC's successful UT0.6 micron CRH Commercial rad-hard process," Milliken continues. "UTMC was the first to introduce a process guaranteed to 300 kilorads produced on a commercial [fabrication foundry]" and their new family "will save customers development time and reduce costs," he claims.

UTMC's UT0.6 micron SRH gate array family features array sizes as large as 600,000 usable gates and is ISO 9001 and QML Class Q and V compliant. The gate array family is radiation hardened to withstand 1 megarad of total-dose radiation and can meet SEU immunity to less than 1.0E-10 errors per bit-day. It features clock rates as fast as 215MHz and operating voltage of 5 volts and 3.3 volts.

For more information on UTMC's new rad-hard family contact the company by phone at 1-800-645-UTMC, by mail at 4350 Centennial Blvd., Colorado Springs, Co. 80907, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.utmc.com.

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