ASN #5 - Design & Manufacturing - In & Around Our Industry

SOI-based Electronics for Avionic & Space Harsh Environments

Posted by (Cissoid) on July 11, 2006
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SOI-based ICs developed by CISSOID for extreme conditions are reaching record operating temperatures.

The electronics used in Avionics & Space are subject to very harsh conditions, in particular very wide operating temperature ranges. In avionics, the sensors placed close to the engine are subject to very high temperature, well above 200°C, and airplane manufacturers are now specifying the operating of the electronics down to -60°C.

In space, satellites are subject to extreme temperature cycles; and for planetary exploration (Mars and Jupiter, for example), the temperature conditions are even more severe. Space electronics are also subject to harsh radiation conditions: Total Dose and Single Event Upsets (SEUs). Today, SEUs are also becoming a constraint for avionic applications.

A significant constraint is not only to have the electronics operating over a wide temperature range but also to be able to guaranty the long-term reliability, over years, for these electronics. SOI-based electronic components offer a unique solution to these concerns.

Standard ICs built on bulk substrates start to fail at around 150°C, and typically stop working at 170°C. With SOI, we can isolate the active device from the mechanical substrate, drastically reducing leakage currents and suppressing latch-up.

The ability of SOI components to work at very high temperature, up to 300°C, accelerates reliability tests in reasonable time frames: a 10-year lifetime at 225°C can be warranted by testing a component for only 6 months at 300°C, thanks to the well-understood accelerated aging with temperature.

CISSOID designs ASICs and standard components for harsh Avionic & Space applications. These circuits are also used in other harsh environments like Oil & Gas Drilling or Automotives. The first products released were a family of high-temperature, low-dropout voltage regulators (see Figure 1), with outstanding performance with respect to other parts on the market. These circuits work at up to 300°C (ambient temperature) and have withstood testing for more than 6 months without interruption at this temperature. CISSOID is continuously broadening its portfolio of high temperature components: voltage regulators, voltage references, amplifiers, analog-to-digital converters, oscillators and timers, high- voltage MOSFETs, drivers, microcontrollers, and so forth.

In the domain of space applications, CISSOID’s Bandgap Voltage Reference Circuit has been tested by NASA, demonstrating a record operating temperature range of 500°C, from -200°C up to 300°C, as shown in Figure 2. The reference voltage precision is below 1% from -100°C up to 225°C. First radiation tests on this component have shown very promising results, demonstrating again the robustness of the SOI-based components developed by CISSOID to the harsh environments found in Avionic and Space applications.

Acknowledgements: We want to thank Richard Patterson from the NASA’s Glenn Research Center for the low-temperature testing.