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Radiation Hardened Dedicated Microprocessor for Software Reconfigurable Wireless Communication

PI: Brock J. LaMeres, Montana State University
Awarded for 2007

Space radiation has a detrimental effect on integrated circuitry in earth-orbiting satellites and planetary mission spacecrafts. As the high-energy particles pass through the semiconductor material used to create the transistors on the integrated circuit, they break the atomic bonds and cause electron/hole pairs. Due to the variation in the electron/hole mobility of the various materials used in the integrated circuit, charge can become trapped in the insulating materials in and around the transistor. This excess charge leads to a variety of failure mechanisms in the circuitry including threshold shifting, leakage current latchup, and inadvertent switching of digital states. Integrated circuits created using commercial fabrication processes cannot withstand the radiation effects that exist in space. As a result, novel circuit design techniques and materials are needed to produce the equivalent functionality of off-the-shelf components while being radiation hardened to meet NASA’s requirements.

In this project, we will develop a set of radiation tolerant circuit blocks are to be used in a dedicated computer system for application in software defined radio applications. This project will lay the foundation for future radiation hardened research at MSU by building the necessary design infrastructure at MSU including VLSI/CAD tools, a library of basic logic gates designed to be radiation hard/tolerant, and a set of higher level microprocessor blocks that can be incorporated into a dedicated microcomputer design (ALU, Cache, Counters, Multipliers).

Contact Info

Mail Brock J. LaMeres
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
E-mail: lameres@ece.montana.edu
Phone: (406) 994-5987
Fax: (406) 994-5958
Website: None
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