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SemiWiki Blog: Rad Hard Circuit Design and Optimization for Space Applications

User Blog by Daniel Payne on 09-06-2023 at 6:00 am

The Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology’s Renato Archer Information Technology Center (CTI) presented research on designing Latching Current Limiter (LCL) circuits for space applications with radiation-hardened techniques. Due to the hostile environment of small satellites and their weight limitations, the circuits must employ radiation-hardening by process (RHBP) or by design (RHBD). The LCL is a power switch protecting electronic systems in space from radiation effects. Three LCL designs were showcased at the MunEDA User Group meeting, employing techniques such as trench isolation, guard rings, and redundant structures to reduce radiation effects.

MunEDA WiCkeD was used for circuit optimization, ensuring performance and robustness against variations. Two circuit versions were designed, one using standard transistors and the other implementing RHBD techniques. The advantages of using MunEDA WiCkeD included shorter design time, optimized critical blocks, and improved accuracy. Test chips for both approaches were fabricated, showing that the RHBD circuit performed similarly to the standard transistor circuit, eliminating short-circuit peak current and ensuring system safety. Radiation tests are planned to further validate the effectiveness of the hardening circuit techniques.

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