Cost-Effective Component Solutions to Radiation Harden Low-Budget Smallsats

Ross BannatyneRoss Bannatyne, Director of VORAGO Technologies spoke at the Open Tech Forum at Space Tech Expo 2018 about a cost-effective component capable of harden smallsats to radiation.

Ross discussed a new radiation-hardened, latch-up-immune microcontroller based on the ARM Cortex-M0 architecture that has been developed for cost-sensitive spacecraft applications.

Smallsats are a good example of projects that typically have challenging cost constraints but expectations that they will operate robustly for longer and in more distant orbits in environments with high radiation. The microcontroller can be produced cost-effectively as it is manufactured using a standard bulk CMOS process but uses an innovative ‘buried guard ring’ to immunize parasitic structures that would otherwise trigger latch-up in a non-hardened device. The device can be used to implement a rad-hard ‘anchor’ in a low-cost smallsat.
In this presentation, Ross takes you on the journey of this new radiation-hardened device and ensures you learn about the following topics:

  • How radiation can trigger latch-up in a semiconductor device
  • How to immunize a semiconductor device against radiation
  • How to protect a smallsat against radiation by implementing a low-cost anchor device