Radiation-tolerant plastic ICs for small, shorter-lifetime satellites

September 21, 2017 //By Graham Prophet
Radiation-tolerant plastic ICs for small, shorter-lifetime satellites
Intersil, now part of Renesas, has opened a new family of radiation-tolerant plastic-package ICs, with three devices for the emerging field of small satellites that will provide solutions such as high-speed Internet connections worldwide.

In this vision, fleets of hundreds of small satellites will create mega-constellation networks to deliver broadband Internet links from low Earth orbit (LEO) to every point on the globe, including rural areas without wireless connectivity access. These will be short duration LEO mission profiles; Intersil’s rad-tolerant plastic parts include the ISL71026M 3.3V controller area network (CAN) transceiver, ISL71444M 40V quad precision rail-to-rail input and output (RRIO) op amp, and the ISL71001M 6A point-of-load (POL) voltage regulator. These ICs deliver rad-tolerance performance at a much lower price point versus radiation assurance tested Class V (space level) products. All three ISL71xxxM devices go through characterization testing, which includes total ionizing dose (TID) up to 30 krads (Si) for single event effects (SEE). SEE take into account single event burnout (SEB), single event latch-up (SEL), single event transients (SETs) and single event functional interrupts (SEFIs) at a linear energy transfer (LET) of 43 MeV•cm 2/mg.


Intersil’s rad-tolerant plastic packaging exploits the company’s spaceflight experience developing rad hard (defined as >75 krad) and rad-tolerant (<75 krad) products for extremely harsh environments. The upfront radiation effects characterization and AEC-Q100 automotive-like qualification gives confidence to design these radiation-tolerant plastic parts into cost-sensitive small satellites for LEO mission profiles up to five-years. The ISL71xxxM are also suited for high altitude (>40 km) avionic systems, launch vehicles that are prone to heavy ions, and medical equipment where radiation is a concern.


The ISL71026M (5 x 4.4 mm, 14-lead TSSOP) radiation-tolerant 3.3V CAN transceiver provides serial data transmission at speeds up to 1 Mbps. Up to 120 transceivers can be connected to a single CAN bus to reduce cabling/harness size, weight and power (SWAP) costs for satellite command and telemetry systems.

- Operates at input voltage range from 3V to 3.6V

- Quiescent supply current: 7 mA (max), Listen mode supply current: 2 mA (max)

- Compliant with ISO 11898-2 physical layer standard

- Bus fault

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