Rad-tolerant microcontroller supports development

Believed to be the industry’s first Arm-based microcontrollers to combine commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology with space-qualified versions that have scalable levels of radiation performance, the SAMV71Q21RT and SAMRH71 have been developed by Microchip.

They are based on the automotive-qualified SAMV71 microcontroller. The SAMV71Q21RT radiation-tolerant and the SAMRH71 radiation-hardened microcontrollers use the Arm Cortex-M7 system on chip (SoC) for integration, cost reduction and higher performance in space systems, claims Microchip.

The SAMV71Q21RT and SAMRH71 allow software developers to begin implementation with the SAMV71 COTS device before using a space-grade component. This can significantly reduce development time and cost, says Microchip. Both devices can use the SAMV71’s full software development toolchain, and share the same ecosystem including software libraries, board support package (BSP) and operating system (OS) first level of porting.

Once preliminary developments are complete on the COTS device, all software development can be swopped to a radiation-tolerant or radiation-hardened version in a high-reliability plastic package or space-grade ceramic package. The SAMV71Q21RT radiation-tolerant microcontroller reuses the full COTS mask set and offers pinout compatibility, for immediate transition from COTS to qualified space parts.

The SAMV71Q21RT’s radiation performance meets applications such as low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations and robotics, while the SAMRH71 offers radiation performance suited for more critical sub-systems like gyroscopes and star tracker equipment. The SAMV71Q21RT radiation-tolerant device ensures an accumulated TID of 30Krad (Si) with latch-up immunity and is non-destructive against heavy ions. Both devices are fully immune to single event latch-up (SEL) up to 62MeV.cm²/mg.

The SAMRH71 radiation-hardened microcontroller is designed specifically for deep space applications. It exhibits accumulated TID of more than 100Krad (Si), no single event upset (SEU) linear energy transfer (LET) up to 20 MeV.cm²/mg, without system mitigation and is designed for no single event functional interrupts (SEFI), which secures the integrity of memories.

Based on the Arm Cortex-M7 core, the SAMV71Q21RT and SAMRH71  have low power operation to provide long operating life for aerospace applications. To protect against the effects of radiation and manage system mitigation, the architecture of the devices includes fault management and data integrity features such as error correcting code (ECC) memory, integrity check monitor (ICM) and memory protection unit (MPU).

The SAMV71Q21RT and SAMRH71 also feature CAN FD and Ethernet AVB/TSN capabilities to follow the evolution of space systems’ connectivity requirements.

In addition, the SAMRH71 has dedicated SpaceWire and MIL-STD-1553 interfaces for control and high-speed data management up to 200Mbits per second.

An evaluation board, the ATSAMV71-XULT, is also available. The devices are supported by Atmel Studio integrated development environment (IDE) for developing, debugging and software libraries.  Both devices will also be supported in MPLAB Harmony version 3.0 by mid-2019.

The SAMRH71 in CQFP256 ceramic package is sampling today, and the SAMV71Q21RT is available today in volume production quantities in four versions, the SAMV71Q21RT-DHB-E in ceramic prototype QFP144 package, the SAMV71Q21RT-DHB-MQ in ceramic space-grade QFP144 package, QMLQ equivalent, the SAMV71Q21RT-DHB-SV in ceramic space-grade QFP144 package, QMLV equivalent and SAMV71Q21RT-DHB-MQ in plastic QFP144 package, AQEC qualified models.


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