Texas Instruments, ST, EPC, Microchip Bring New Radiation-Hardened Devices to Space

July 04, 2021 by Alessandro Mascellino

Several companies have released new models of rad-hard technologies in the last several months.

Space radiation can severely damage electronic devices, and using rad-hard enclosures or rad-hard chip design can go a long way in protecting electronic components.

The rad-hard current limiters down below present some similarities in how they are built to counter space radiations, but also some differences.

Read on to find out their specifications and specific applications. 


TPS7H2201-SP by Texas Instruments

The TPS7H2201-SP by Texas Instruments (TI) is a single channel load switch designed to provide configurable rise time to minimize inrush current and reverse current protection. 

Image courtesy of Texas Instruments. 

The chip offers a P-channel metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) capable of operating over an input voltage range of 1.5 V to 7 V and supporting a maximum continuous current of 6 A. 

The switch is controlled by an on and off input (EN) that can interface directly with low-voltage control signals and can operate over the free-air temperature range of –55°C to 125°C.

The TPS7H2201-SP is already available on the TI website in a ceramic package with an integrated thermal pad allowing for high power dissipation. 

For more information about the TPS7H2201-SP, here is the product’s datasheet.


RHRPMICL1A by STMicroelectronics

STMicroelectronics’ RHRPMICL1A is an integrated current limiter designed to work in conjunction with an external P-channel power MOSFET.

Image courtesy of STMicroelectronics.

It can therefore be used as a universal solution to protect a power supply (from 8.5 V) from unpredictable external current demand (e.g. in case the load enters latch-up conditions).

Thanks to its features, it can protect or replace conventional fuses and can also be used to control redundant loads.

The RHRPMICL1A features three user-configurable operating modes: retriggerable, latched, and foldback, each offering different behaviors in case of overload or short-circuit. All key parameters of the chip are also customizable, thus making the RHRPMICL1A suitable for several and diversified applications. 

In addition, the RHRPMICL1A is built on ST's proprietary BCD6s-SOI technology to provide the total dose and heavy-ion radiation hardness.  The component is housed in a hermetic Flat-20 package assembled in ST's QML-V certified facility, so it is ideally suited for harsh environments.

For additional information about the RHRPMICL1A, you can head over to ST’s website following this link.


EPC7014 by Efficient Power Conversion

The EPC7014 by Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) is a 60 V, 340 mΩ, 4 APulsed, rad-hard Enhancement-Mode Gallium Nitride (eGaN) FET housed in a small 0.81 mm2 package.

Image courtesy of EPC.

According to EPC, the component represents the first in what will be a wide-range family of rad-hard transistors and integrated circuits. 

The solution features a total dose rating greater than 1 Mrad and SEE immunity for LET of 85 MeV/(mg/cm2), and is offered in a chip-scale package (sold by EPC Space).

From a technical standpoint, the EPC7014 reportedly features higher breakdown strength, faster-switching speed, higher thermal conductivity, and lower on-resistance when compared to silicon-based counterparts.

These capabilities make the component ideal for critical spaceborne missions, particularly considering that GaN is also inherently radiation tolerant.

In terms of specific applications for the EPC7014, Efficient Power Conversion directly mentioned power supplies for satellites and mission equipment, light detection and ranging (lidar) for robotics, and autonomous navigation and rendezvous docking.

Also, motor drives for robotics and instrumentation, ion thrusters for satellite orientation and positioning, and interplanetary propulsion of low-mass robotic vehicles.

The EPC7014 is already available for engineering sampling and will start commercial shipping in October.


M6 MRH25N12U3 by Microchip

Designed by Microchip for commercial aerospace and defense space applications, the M6 MRH25N12U3 is a radiation-hardened 250V, 0.21 Ohm Rds(on) MOSFET.

Image courtesy of Microchip.

It can reportedly withstand total ionizing dose (TID) up to 100 krad and 300 krad and single event effects (SEE) with linear energy transfer (LET) up to 87 MeV/mg/cm2. 

In addition, the M6 MRH25N12U3 can provide 100-percent wafer lot radiation hardness assurance in validation tests.

The component is therefore built to provide the primary switching element in power conversion circuits including point-of-load converters, DC-DC converters, motor drives and controls and general-purpose switching. 

Thanks to its highly resilient casing, the MRH25N12U3 can withstand the harsh environments of space, making it ideal for applications in future satellite system designs as well as an alternate source in existing systems.

The component also meets all requirements of MIL-PRF19500/746 and was tested for Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) review and qualification.