Rad-hard MCUs feature Arm Cortex-M7 cores

Microchip Technology Inc. has launched the space industry’s first Arm-based microcontrollers (MCUs) that combine the benefits of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology with space-qualified versions that have scalable levels of radiation performance. This allows designers to start prototyping with a commercial device before moving to a radiation-qualified version, which cuts development time and cost.

The new SAMV71Q21RT radiation-tolerant and S AMRH71 radiation-hardened MCUs are based on the automotive-qualified SAMV71 and implement the Arm Cortex-M7 system-on-chip (SoC). This enables more integration, cost reduction, and higher performance in space systems, said Microchip.

Software developers can start their designs with a lower-cost COTS SAMV71 device before moving to a space-grade component. Both COTS devices use the same software development toolchain, including software libraries, board support package (BSP), and operating system (OS) first level of porting. All software development can be swapped out to a radiation-tolerant or radiation-hardened version in a high-reliability plastic package or space-grade ceramic package.

Microchip said that the SAMV71Q21RT radiation-tolerant MCU reuses the full COTS mask set and offers pinout compatibility, so designers can quickly scale from COTS to qualified space parts.

The SAMV71Q21RT can be used in NewSpace applications such as low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations and robotics. The SAMV71Q21RT ensures an accumulated TID of 30 Krad (Si) with latchup immunity and is nondestructive against heavy ions.

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