The NASA's PATH mission includes the GeoSTAR satellite that carries aboard a microwave sounder employing an array of 375 microwave antennas with corresponding receivers. Each receiver is tuned to the 180GHz frequency, while the intermediate frequency (IF) reaches 500MHz. The IF signal is quantized at 1GHz with 2-bit accuracy. The resulting data rate is 700Gb/s. This data has to be pre-processed aboard the satellite before it can be transmitted to Earth for further processing. One of the steps of such data processing is cross-correlation. For a space borne instrument, power dissipation and radiation hardness are among the most important requirements. Pacific Microchip Corp. is designing an ASIC that includes a cross-correlation unit with interfaces for the GeoSTAR's receivers. The ASIC will have greatly reduced power consumption compared to that of the FPGA-based or classic ASIC-based implementations. This ASIC must be designed and integrated with already existing system components of the GeoSTAR instrument. The ASIC includes cross-correlation cells based on novel architecture. The deep submicron SOI CMOS technology selected for the ASIC's fabrication will increase its tolerance to the total ionizing dose (TID) and reduce the probability of radiation-induced latch-up. The design of the ASIC will follow design for testability (DFT) methods, which will simplify characterization and testing of the fabricated ASIC, reduce risk and lower the cost of the product.More »
The proposed ASIC is intended for processing the GeoSTAR instrument's microwave sounder signals. The ASIC will cross-correlate the signals of 2X125 receivers located on two arms of the Y shaped antenna. A total of three ASICs will be employed for the complete cross-correlation function required for the instrument. The proposed cross-correlator ASIC can also find application in signal processing required for radio telescopes that employ more than 2,000 receivers, such as the SKA. The cross-correlators installed on such telescopes consume tens of kilowatts of power. The novel ASIC offers a reduction of power consumption by at least an order. The proposed ASIC's core will be available as an IP ready for implementation in other correlator ASICs employed in space borne and Earth-based NASA instruments.
High energy efficiency at high data processing speed and radiation hardness of the proposed cross-correlator ASIC makes it applicable in many space-based commercial and military systems such as radiometry, interferometry, polarimetry, and spectrometry employed for remote sensing applications. Cross-correlators are also required for neural implants in medicine, image sensor signal processing in military and homeland security, and synthetic aperture radars in both military and civil aviation. The proposed ASIC can be included into the signal processing path of artificial eyes, ears or other senses that are employing signal processing based on artificial neural networks. In order to ensure the highest outcome of the developed technology, the proposed ASIC's core will also be offered as an IP block which will be licensed to interested parties.
|Organizations Performing Work
|Pacific Microchip Corporation
|Culver City, California
|Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)