Microsemi debuts RTG4 PROTO for low-cost prototyping and design Validation for radiation-tolerant FPGAs

Microsemi Corp. launched this week RTG4 PROTO field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) that have been developed specifically to enable prototyping of spacesystems, enable lower cost prototyping and design validation activities for the latest radiation-tolerant high-speed FPGAs. The RTG4 PROTO FPGAs are also the only reprogrammable prototyping solution of their kind providing the same timing and power characteristics as space flight units.

The company’s RTG4 PROTO FPGAs enable easy hardware timing verification, as well as power evaluation. As the devices use the same reprogrammable flash technology as flight units, they can be reprogrammed multiple times without being removed from the development board.

Catering to the requirements of space system designers who must design for the harsh environment beyond earth’s atmosphere, the RTG4 PROTO FPGAs are electrically tested to ensure reliable performance over full military temperature ranges and are offered in non-hermetic, ceramic packages.

In addition to satellite applications, Microsemi’s RTG4 FPGAs are ideal for space launch vehicles, planetary orbiters and landers, and deep space probes. Target customers include designers, program managers, system architects and component engineers serving the space market.


RTG4 PROTO devices use the same silicon and the same packages as RTG4 flight-model FPGAs. RTG4 PROTO device programming is currently enabled in Libero SoC Design Suite. When designing for RTG4 PROTO, customers can use the same device setting in Libero SoC software as for flight models.

The RTG4 PROTO prototype units have the same timing attributes as the RTG4 flight units, including support for the same speed grades as the flight parts. The RT-PROTO units are electrically tested in a manner to guarantee their performance over the full military temperature range. Prototype units are offered in non-hermetic, ceramic packages.

The prototype units include “PROTO” in their part number, and “PROTO” is marked on devices to indicate that they are not intended for space flight. They are also not intended for applications that require the quality of spaceflight units, such as qualification of spaceflight hardware. RT-PROTO units offer no guarantee of hermeticity, and no Mil-STD-883 class B processing. At a minimum, users should plan on using class B devices for all qualification activities.

RTG4 FPGAs are manufactured on a low power 65nm process with substantial reliability heritage. RTG4 FPGAs will be qualified to MIL-STD-883 Class B, and Microsemi will seek QML Class Q and Class V qualification. RTG4 FPGAs are immune to radiation (SEU) induced changes in configuration, due to the robustness of the flash cells used to connect and configure logic resources and routing tracks.

No background scrubbing or reconfiguration of the FPGA is needed in order to mitigate changes in configuration due to radiation effects. Data errors, due to radiation, are mitigated by hardwired SEU resistant flip-flops in the logic cells and in the mathblocks. Single Error Correct Double Error Detect (SECDED) protection is optional for the embedded SRAM (LSRAM and uSRAM) and the DDR memory controllers. This means that if a one-bit error is detected, it will be corrected. Errors of more than one bit are detected only and not corrected.

SECDED error signals are brought to the FPGA fabric to allow the user to monitor the status of these protected internal memories.

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