Radiation-Tolerant Ethernet Transceiver And Embedded Microcontroller

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Radiation-qualified devices enable expanded Ethernet connectivity for space applications involving high-data rate communication

Ethernet is becoming more common in spacecraft to enable hardwired communication speed, support higher data rates and facilitate interoperability between satellites and other spacecraft.

To support its expansion is the VSC8541RT radiation-tolerant Ethernet transceiver, a radiation-tolerant device based on Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) solution for applications ranging from launch vehicles to satellite constellations and space stations.

Along with the VSC8541RT is the new SAM3X8ERT radiation-tolerant microcontroller incorporating Arm Cortex-M3 core processor and embedded Ethernet controller. These are designed to support space industry demand for radiation-tolerant devices separately or in combination.

Both devices are COTS-based with enhanced characterised levels of radiation performance and high-reliability quality flow. They share the same pin-out distribution, allowing designers to begin implementation with COTS devices before moving to space-grade components. This significantly reduces development time and cost for use aboard satellite platforms, payloads for data and sensor bus control, remote terminal communication, space vehicle networks, and module connectivity in space stations.

The VSC8541RT transceiver is a single-port Gigabit Ethernet copper PHY with GMII, RGMII, MII and RMII interfaces. It is latch-up immune up to 78 Mev; TID has been tested up to 100 Krad. With a rad-tolerant die and package, a 100 MB limited bitrate performance VSC8540RT provides performance and cost scalability for targeted missions.

The SAM3X8ERT radiation-tolerant MCU implements on a System on Chip (SoC) with Arm Cortex-M3 core processor, delivering 100 DMIPS. The MCU embeds up to 512 Kbytes Dual Bank Flash, 100 Kbytes SRAM, ADC & DAC and dual CAN controller on top of Ethernet capability.

To support the design process and accelerate time to market, developers can use the Arduino Due commercial kit for the SAM3X8ERT along with the VSC8541EV evaluation boards for the VSC8541RT. The SAM3X8ERT device is supported by Atmel Studio Integrated Development Environment for developing, debugging and software libraries.

Both the VSC8541RT and the SAM3X8ERT are available from Microchip Technology in plastic or ceramic packages. These range from QFP144 packages for SAM3X8ERT to CQFP68 packages for VSC854xRT.


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