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Integrated Radiation Sensing FPGA (IRSF)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000247856D
Publication Date: 2016-Oct-06
Document File: 4 page(s) / 324K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

As systems continually improve on integration to achieve a truly system on chip (SOC), it is necessary to improve integration of sensors into sensors into the system. In the near future it will be feasible to engineer an integrated radiation sensing FPGA (IRSF) devices. This will complement existing voltage and temperature sensors, to give another dimension of flexibility to the general user.

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Integrated Radiation Sensing FPGA (IRSF)

Introduction

                As systems continually improve on integration to achieve a truly system on chip (SOC), it is necessary to improve integration of sensors into sensors into the system. In the near future it will be feasible to engineer an integrated radiation sensing FPGA (IRSF) devices. This will complement existing voltage and temperature sensors, to give another dimension of flexibility to the general user.

Prior Art

                Currently, there is no product on the market that combines a radiation sensor, software malleable processing, and programmable user features into the same die. This means that specific systems made from discrete detectors, processors, and support electronics must be assembled to solve the problem. Although this generates a purpose built device, it lacks a flexibility and upgrade path that would appeal to generic users.

Current semiconductor radiation detector methodology is limited and has several drawbacks.  PIN diodes are relatively cheap to produce. During events, an electron hole pair is generated, and measured.  While that may seem simple, the analog support electronics needed to interpret that energy into a digital signal requires significant analog design and biasing. This requires PIN designs to be purpose built silicon designs. Additionally, since the sensing is analog, designs do not scale down with process nodes very easily. This puts a limit on the sensor’s absolute size.

Other semiconductor methods use “Scintillation Detection” where radiation strikes in special materials (such as cesium iodide) give off visible light discharge that is detected by CCD arrays. This is type of detection methodology is equally difficult as it requires special materials and complex packaging not normally found in CMOS fabs.

                Of all the possible solutions, RAM based sensing would be the most promising. However, sensing capability is limited. In discrete, or ASIC,  systems, the sensor front end is fixed at the beginning of the design. It is impossible to change or adjust the size of the sensor, or the design of the sensor once fabricated or placed into the design. Users cannot upgrade or change their tool without significant system changes.

Description of Invention

                The IRSF is a software solution  seeking to utilize FPGA memory building blocks, registers, configuration memory, embedded memory, 2.5D/3D memory as radiation detectors. As radiation passes through various memory elements, it will cause a SEU (Soft Error Upset) that will cause the memory element to change polarity. By monitoring and processing these upsets, we can provide radiation sensing within a standard SOC.

                For each user programmable memory cell type there will be circuitry to provide detection processing.   Each controller will have three basic functions: memory backgroun...