A radiation-hard transponder was developed utilizing submicron/ nanotechnology from IBM. The device consumes low power and has a low fabrication cost. This device utilizes a Plug-and-Play concept, and can be integrated into intra-satellite networks, supporting SpaceWire and Gigabit Ethernet I/O. A space-qualified, 100-pin package also was developed, allowing space-qualified (class K) transponders to be delivered within a six-month time frame.

The novel, optical, radiation-tolerant transponder was implemented as a standalone board, containing the transponder ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) and optical module, with an FPGA (field-programmable gate array) friendly parallel interface. It features improved radiation tolerance; high-data-rate, low-power consumption; and advanced functionality. The transponder utilizes a patented current-mode logic library of radiation-hardened-by-architecture cells. The transponder was developed, fabricated, and rad-hard tested up to 1 MRad. It was fabricated using 90-nm CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) 9 SF process from IBM, and incorporates full BIT circuitry, allowing a loop back test.

The low-speed parallel LVCMOS (low-voltage complementary metal oxide semiconductor) bus is compatible with Actel FPGA. The output LVDS (low-voltage differential signaling) interface operates up to 1.5 Gb/s. Built-in CDR (clock-data recovery) circuitry provides robust synchronization and incorporates two alarm signals such as synch loss and signal loss. The ultra-linear peak detector scheme allows on-line control of the amplitude of the input signal. Power consumption is less than 300 mW.

The developed transponder with a 1.25 Gb/s serial data rate incorporates a 10-to-1 serializer with an internal clock multiplication unit and a 10-1 deserializer with internal clock and data recovery block, which can operate with 8B10B encoded signals. Three loop-back test modes are provided to facilitate the built-in-test functionality. The design is based on a proprietary library of differential current switching logic cells implemented in the standard 90-nm CMOS 9SF technology from IBM. The proprietary low-power LVDS physical interface is fully compatible with the SpaceWire standard, and can be directly connected to the SFP MSA (small form factor pluggable Multiple Source Agreement) optical transponder. The low-speed parallel interfaces are fully compatible with the standard 1.8 V CMOS input/output devices. The utilized proprietary annular CMOS layout structures provide TID tolerance above 1.2 MRad. The complete chip consumes less than 150 mW of power from a single 1.8-V positive supply source.

This work was done by Vladimir Katzman of Adsantec for Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-16038-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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