Semiconductors & ICs

Process-Hardened, Multi-Analyte Sensor for Characterizing Rocket Plume Constituents

A multi-analyte sensor was developed that enables simultaneous detection of rocket engine combustion-product molecules in a launch-vehicle ground test stand. The sensor was developed using a pin-printing method by incorporating multiple sensor elements on a single chip. It demonstrated accurate and sensitive detection of analytes such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, kerosene, isopropanol, and ethylene from a single measurement.

Posted in: Briefs, Semiconductors & ICs, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Emissions measurement, Semiconductors, Rocket engines


Making Multicore Work With Minimal Pain Points

All major microprocessor vendors are introducing multicore architectures to deliver the latest installment of performance improvements and cost savings as required to remain competitive in the silicon marketplace. Indeed, multicore processors offer increases in processing throughput, savings in power consumption, and reductions in heat dissipation. However, some effort is required to fully exploit multicore benefits. Unfortunately, the transition to a multicore architecture is often best described by the old adage, “no pain, no gain.”

Posted in: Articles, Semiconductors & ICs


Compact, Reliable EEPROM Controller

This controller prevents inadvertent writes in an EEPROM. A compact, reliable controller for an electrically erasable, programmable readonly memory (EEPROM) has been developed specifically for a space-flight application. The design may be adaptable to other applications in which there are requirements for reliability in general and, in particular, for prevention of inadvertent writing of data in EEPROM cells.

Posted in: Briefs, Semiconductors & ICs, Computer software and hardware, Electronic control units, Semiconductors, Reliability, Spacecraft


Ka-Band Waveguide Two-Way Hybrid Combiner for MMIC Amplifiers

This technology is applicable as a power combiner for solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs) with unequal and arbitrary power output ratios.The design, simulation, and characterization of a novel Ka-band (32.05±0.25 GHz) rectangular waveguide two-way branch-line hybrid unequal power combiner (with port impedances matched to that of a standard WR-28 waveguide) has been created to combine input signals, which are in phase and with an amplitude ratio of two. The measured return loss and isolation of the branch-line hybrid are better than 22 and 27 dB, respectively. The measured combining efficiency is 92.9 percent at the center frequency of 32.05 GHz. This circuit is efficacious in combining the unequal output power from two Ka-band GaAs pseudomorphic high electron mobility transistor (pHEMT) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifiers (PAs) with high efficiency.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs, Amplifiers, Integrated circuits, Waveguides


Quad-Chip Double-Balanced Frequency Tripler

This technology has uses such as high-resolution radar and spectroscopic screening.Solid-state frequency multipliers are used to produce tunable broadband sources at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. The maximum power produced by a single chip is limited by the electrical breakdown of the semiconductor and by the thermal management properties of the chip. The solution is to split the drive power to a frequency tripler using waveguides to divide the power among four chips, then recombine the output power from the four chips back into a single waveguide.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs, Integrated circuits, Waveguides, Semiconductors


Radiation-Hardened Solid-State Drive

A method is provided for a radiationhardened (rad-hard) solid-state drive for space mission memory applications by combining rad-hard and commercial offthe- shelf (COTS) non-volatile memories (NVMs) into a hybrid architecture. The architecture is controlled by a rad-hard ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) or a FPGA (field programmable gate array). Specific error handling and data management protocols are developed for use in a rad-hard environment. The rad-hard memories are smaller in overall memory density, but are used to control and manage radiation-induced errors in the main, and much larger density, non-rad-hard COTS memory devices.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs, Computer software and hardware, Integrated circuits, Radiation protection


Reconfigurable, Bi-Directional Flexfet Level Shifter for Low- Power, Rad-Hard Integration

These level shifters enable the development of multi-level voltage systems.Two prototype Reconfigurable, Bidirectional Flexfet Level Shifters (ReBiLS) have been developed, where one version is a stand-alone component designed to interface between external low voltage and high voltage, and the other version is an embedded integrated circuit (IC) for interface between internal low-voltage logic and external high-voltage components. Targeting stand-alone and embedded circuits separately allows optimization for these distinct applications. Both ReBiLS designs use the commercially available 180-nm Flex - fet Inde pend ently Double-Gated (IDG) SOI CMOS (silicon on insulator, complementary metal oxide semiconductor) technology.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs, Integrated circuits, Voltage regulators, Semiconductors


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