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Radiation-tolerant solutions based on COTS devices

Microchip has announced a microcontroller (MCU) that combines specified radiation performance with the low-cost development associated with Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices.

The AtmegaS64M1 has been designed to meet the needs of space and other critical aerospace applications which require faster development and reduced costs.

It is the second 8-bit megaAVR MCU from Microchip that uses a development approach called COTS-to-radiation-tolerant.This approach takes a proven automotive-qualified device, such as the Atmega64M1, and creates pin-out compatible versions in both high-reliability plastic and space-grade ceramic packages.The devices are designed to meet radiation tolerances with the following targeted performances:

• Fully immune from Single-Event Latchup (SEL) up to 62 MeV.cm²/mg

• No Single-Event Functional Interrupts (SEFI) which secure memory integrity

• Accumulated Total Ionizing Dose (TID) between 20 to 50 Krad(Si)

• Single Event Upset (SEU) characterization for all functional blocks

The device joins the AtmegaS128, a radiation-tolerant MCU that has already been designed into several critical space missions.

The COTS version of the device, the ATmega64M1, along with its full development toolchain including development kits and code configurator can be used to begin development of hardware, firmware and software. When the final system is ready for the prototype phase or production, the COTS device can be replaced with the pin-out compatible, radiation-tolerant ATmegaS64M1 in a 32-lead ceramic package (QFP32) with the same functionality as the original device offering significant cost savings while reducing development time.

The ATmegaS64M1 meets the high operating temperature range of -55°C to +125°C and it is the first COTS-to-radiation-tolerant MCU to combine a Controller Area Network (CAN) bus, Digital-to-Analogue Converter (DAC) and motor-control capabilities.These features make it suitable for variety of subsystems such as remote terminal controllers and data handling functions for satellites, constellations, launchers or critical avionic applications.

Microchip is also offering the STK 600 complete development board for the ATmegaS64M1, enabling designers to develop code with advanced features for prototyping and testing new designs. The device is supported by the Atmel Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and software libraries for development and debugging.

The devices are available today for sampling and volume production in four derivatives.

Neil Tyler

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