Semiconductors & ICs

ISO 26262 & Automotive Electronics Development

Compliance standards, especially those that involve relatively new functional safety elements, will likely add additional requirements to the development process. But ISO 26262, in particular, will add more than new requirements to the product life cycle for automotive hardware-software systems. This Functional Safety standard will act as a framework impacting integrated requirements traceability, risk management, validation, verification, documentation and collaboration throughout the systems engineering “V” model life cycle process (see Figure). ISO 26262 will also require the qualification of tools used to create automotive systems. This paper examines the impact of the standard on the development process and support tool chains for automotive electronics.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Semiconductors & ICs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Life cycle analysis, Safety regulations and standards

A Resistive, High-Voltage, Differential Input Interface in a 3.3-V BiCMOS 0.5-μm Process for Extreme Environments

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Wide-temperature and extreme-environment electronics are crucial to future missions. These missions will not have the weight and power budget for heavy harnesses and large, inefficient warm boxes. In addition, extreme-environment electronics, by their inherent nature, allow operation next to sensors in the ambient environment, reducing noise and improving precision over the warm-box-based systems employed today.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Semiconductors & ICs, Sensors, Electronic equipment, Electronic equipment

Radiation Hard By Design (RHBD) Electronics

Under certain conditions, a false signal will be absorbed and a correct signal will be generated.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Current RHBD electronics are limited to speeds that approximate 250 MHz, regardless of the electronic process. The fact that determines the final speed is based on the nature of the current SEU (single-event upsets) radiation-tolerant latches, and the data flow between the latches through combinational logic.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs, Electronic equipment, Electronic equipment

Detecting Loss of Configuration Access of Reprogrammable FPGA Without External Circuitry

The configuration of the reprogrammable field-programmable gate array (FPGA) currently on the market is very susceptible to single event upset when it operates in radiation environments. The current state-of-the-art approach is to refresh the configuration while the FPGA is operating. When using this approach, it is essential to detect the loss of configuration access while the FPGA is operating in a radiation environment, allowing the system to initiate a configuration access recovery.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs, Electronic control systems, Electronic control systems

Method for Formal Verification of Polymorphic Heterogeneous Multicore Processors

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio

Amethod was developed to model polymorphic heterogeneous multicore processors at a high level of abstraction, and formally verify them. The Bahurupi polymorphic heterogeneous multi-core architecture allows the combination of multiple simple processor cores — which can be superscalar — in order to form a coalition that behaves like a wider superscalar processor. This is done at runtime under software directives, allowing the architecture to adapt to the needs of executed applications with high instruction level parallelism. Such coalitions of cores were found to have comparable or better performance than that of a wide superscalar processor with issue width equal to the sum of the issue widths of the simple cores in the coalition, while avoiding the complexity, reliability issues, and high power consumption of wide superscalar cores. All of these are highly desirable advantages of future microprocessors that will be optimized for aerospace applications.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs, Architecture, Architecture, Semiconductors

Modeling for Partitioned and Multicore Flight Software Systems

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

The current flight software approach is monolithic in nature. Every module has tentacles that reach deep within dozens of other software modules. Because of these interdependencies between modules, functionality is difficult to extract and reuse for other missions.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Flight control systems, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Flight control systems, Semiconductors

Sub-Nanosecond, Compact, Low-Power Time-Interval Measurement

This innovation is a sub-nanosecond time-interval measurement that is compact and inexpensive, implemented in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Currently, high-speed count ers or semi-custom or custom ASICs (application specific integrated circuits) are used for time-interval measurements. They are not nearly as powerful for automatic delay control for the environment (manufacturing, temperature, voltage, aging, and radiation).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Semiconductors & ICs, Test equipment and instrumentation

CoolSPICE: SPICE Simulator for Cryogenic Electronics

Accurate assessment of circuits at cold temperatures is extremely difficult due to lack of models and tools that can simulate circuit behavior at cryogenic temperatures. A library of cryogenic temperature models was built, as well as a circuit simulator that can use those models and simulate complex circuits at temperatures as low as 4 K.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs, Software, Computer simulation, Electronic equipment, Electronic equipment, Thermal testing

Flexible Microstrip Circuits for Superconducting Electronics

Flexible circuits with superconducting wiring atop polyimide thin films are being studied to connect large numbers of wires between stages in cryogenic apparatus with low heat load. The feasibility of a full microstrip process, consisting of two layers of superconducting material separated by a thin dielectric layer on 5 mil (≈0.13 mm) Kapton sheets, where manageable residual stress remains in the polyimide film after processing, has been demonstrated. The goal is a 2-mil (≈0.051-mm) process using spin-on polyimide to take advantage of the smoother polyimide surface for achieving high-quality metal films. Integration of microstrip wiring with this polyimide film may require high-temperature bakes to relax the stress in the polyimide film between metallization steps.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Semiconductors & ICs, Integrated circuits, Wiring, Integrated circuits, Wiring

Thermally Resilient, Broadband Optical Absorber From UV to IR Derived From Carbon Nanostructures

Optical absorber coatings have been developed from carbon-based paints, metal blacks, or glassy carbon. However, such materials are not truly black and have poor absorption characteristics at longer wavelengths. The blackness of such coatings is important to increase the accuracy of calibration targets used in radiometric imaging spectrometers since blackbody cavities are prohibitively large in size. Such coatings are also useful potentially for thermal detectors, where a broadband absorber is desired. Au-black has been a commonly used broadband optical absorber, but it is very fragile and can easily be damaged by heat and mechanical vibration. An optically efficient, thermally rugged absorber could also be beneficial for thermal solar cell applications for energy harnessing, particularly in the 350–2,500 nm spectral window.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Nanotechnology

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