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STMicroelectronics Collaborates with Xilinx to Power Space-Hardened FPGAs

September 12, 2021 by Gary Elinoff

STMicroelectronics (ST) devices to provide power for Xilinx’s UltraScale XQRKU060 radiation-tolerant FPGA.

ST has announced a radiation hardened solution set to provide the very specific power rails required by the XQRKU060. Composed of ST’s RHRPMPOL01 point of load (POL) 7A monolithic synchronous step-down regulator and the  RHFL6000A linear voltage regulator, both members of the solution are single event latch-up (SEL) immune and QML-V qualified.


Power requirements of the XQRKU060 with the RHRPMPOL01 and the RHFL6000A. Image courtesy of ST


The Special Efficacy of FPGAs for Space-Based Applications

All electronic devices meant for long-term space-based operation must be shielded from the harmful effects of radiation. This includes field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) as well as their power sources.

FPGAs offers the same high computing density as application-specific ICs (ASIC). The difference is that they can readily be reprogrammed, yielding a “new” ASIC without fabricating a new semiconductor device.

This is great for ground-based development, and in space missions, where no field service calls are possible, rad-hardened devices like the XQRKU060 FPGA can be remotely reconfigured, allowing bugs to be fixed and updates to be applied in mid-mission, as necessary.


Close Cooperation between ST and Xilinx

The collaboration yielded a powering solution that provides the XQRKU060 with solid fixed-point voltage accuracy and stability in the face of radiation events that occur in space. The regulation also stands up the very fast changes in the currents carried by the many separate power rails supporting the FPGA, as subsections of the device turn on and off.



The RHRPMPOL01 is a POL synchronous step-down converter containing an N-channel power MOSFET and its bootstrap diode along with expected system protections. Through the single phase device’s support of synchronization and current sharing, it is able to satisfy the many separate and precise power requirements of s FPGAs and MPUs as well as those of ASICs.

The unit operates over a 3.0 to 12V input voltage range. Output is from 0.8V to 85% of input voltage. Output current is up to 7A. The switching speed can be programmed to frequencies between 100kHz to 1MHZ.

Radiation specifications of the RHRPMPOL01 include:

  • Radiation Hardness Assured (RHA) of up to 100krad(Si)
  • Single Event Latch-up (SEL) and Single Event Snap-Back (SESB) free up to 70Mev.cm2/mq. 
  • Single-event upset (SEU) and single-event functional interruption (SEFI) are characterized at 7V operating voltage (see the RHRPMPOL01 datasheet for complete details)


The RHFL6000A

The RHFL6000A is a low-dropout regulator that operates from a voltage input ranging from an input of -0.3 to 12V. At 0.4A, the typical dropout voltage is 0.3V. The maximum output current is 2A.

Radiation hardening is guaranteed up to:

  • 300 krad MIL-STD-883J method 1019.9 high dose rate
  • 0.01 rad/s in ELDRS conditions


Similar Developments

Today’s ultra-complex, low voltage computational devices often present very specific power requirements:


Physical Consideration

Both power solutions from ST operate over a -55 to +125℃ temperature range


Getting to Market Faster

ST offers the EVAL-RHRPMPOL01, an evaluation board for the company’s RHRPMPOL01. Through this device, engineers can familiarize themselves with the power source before they begin the process of utilizing it in any final product.


Featured image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics datasheet