Radiation tolerant serial NOR Flash memory for space-grade FPGAs

Radiation tolerant serial NOR Flash memory for space-grade FPGAs
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Infineon has launched radiation tolerant 256Mbit and 512Mbit SPI NOR Flash devices qualified to MIL-PRF-38535’s QML-V flow to hold the configuration data for space-grade FPGAs
By Nick Flaherty


Infineon Technologies has launched a 512Mbit radiation-tolerant serial NOR Flash memory for configuration data of FPGAs in space designs.

Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) used in space applications require reliable, high-density non-volatile memories that contain their boot configurations.

The 256Mbit and 512Mbit SPI NOR Flash devices are qualified to MIL-PRF-38535’s QML-V flow (QML-V Equivalent). This is the highest quality and reliability standard certification for aerospace-grade chips and a key achievement for NOR flash that depends on tunnelling and so is vulnerable to single event upset (SEU) errors that can cause problems in FPGA configuration files.

Infineon used its 65nm floating gate Flash process technology to develop the 256 Mb quad-SPI (QSPI) and 512 Mb dual quad-SPI NOR Flash. Both have a 133 MHz SDR interface.

The 512 Mb device comprises two independent 256Mbit die side by side in the package. This provides flexibility for designers to operate the device in dual QSPI or single QSPI mode on either die independently, offering an option to use the second die as a backup solution. Infineon is collaborating closely with FPGA ecosystem companies such as Xilinx on space-grade applications.

“Our radiation-tolerant dual QSPI non-volatile memories are fully supported by the latest space grade FPGAs. They enable a superior, low pin count, single chip select solution to configure processors and FPGAs,” said Helmut Puchner, VP Fellow of Aerospace and Defense at Infineon Technologies LLC. “The entire image for the Xilinx Kintex UltraScale XQRKU060, for example, can be loaded in about 0.2 seconds in dual quad mode.”

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When used at higher clock rates, the data transfer supported by the devices match or exceed traditional parallel asynchronous NOR Flash memories while reducing pin count. The devices are radiation-tolerant up to 30 krad (Si) biased and 125 krad (Si) unbiased. At 125°C, the devices support 1,000 Program/Erase cycles and 30 years of data retention and at 85°C 10k Program/Erase cycles with 250 years of data retention.

The NOR Flash devices can be programmed in-system through the FPGA or through a standalone programmer, offered in the same 36-lead ceramic flat package. Infineon’s development kit and software also supports designs in image storage, microcontroller data and boot code storage.

The RadTol NOR Flash devices are available in a 24×12 mm 2 36-lead ceramic flatpack package. The devices support temperature grades from -55°C to 125°C, with SEU rate < 1 x 10 -16 upsets/bit-day, SEL > 60 MeV.cm 2/mg (85°C), SEFI > 60 MeV.cm 2/mg (LET) and SEU threshold > 28 Mev.cm 2/mg (LET).


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