Radiation Hard FPGA With Embedded MRAM

Period of Performance: 07/24/2003 - 01/23/2004

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

NVE Corp. (formerly Nonvolatile Electron
11409 Valley View Rd.
Eden Prairie, MN 55441
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Ballistic missile defense systems, as well as military and commercial space systems, such as communication satellites, require radiation hard electronics that can survive long term radiation exposure, and that can survive high dose rate burst events and rapidly reset following such a single event upset. This requirement provides the opportunity for the development of new FPGA devices that have higher radiation tolerance. NVE's innovative approach is to integrate radiation hard program memory into a typical FPGA design. This will provide FPGA program memory that is immune to long term and burst radiation, and that will accurately reload the FPGA following a burst event. The proposed Phase I effort will develop an MRAM cell design that is suitable for integration into the programmable logic array of an FPGA. This cell will provide power-on configuration capability and nonvolatile, radiation hard storage of the FPGA configuration. Circuit simulations will be used to demonstrate the feasibility of the MRAM cell, while a schematic design will show the feasibility of integrating the MRAM into the programmable logic array. A Phase II effort would build upon the Phase I effort by designing and fabricating prototype FPGA devices with integrated MRAM for program storage and device configuration. The proposed development effort will results in a radiation hard programmable logic component that will be useful in both military and commercial space applications, and in missile applications. The availability of radiation hard programmable logic will allow on-board reconfigurability, increase the flexibility and upgrade capability, and decrease the development time of the space and missile electronic systems.