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24 April 2013

NASA selects Ridgetop to develop modular SiGe 130nm cell library

Ridgetop Group Inc of Tucson, AZ, USA has been selected to receive a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 contract from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Ridgetop will create a cell library of key ‘building block’ analog cells needed to accelerate the development, improve the reliability, and reduce the cost of a wide range of integrated circuits essential for space missions and other demanding applications that must tolerate harsh environments.

NASA space missions use application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) under extreme operating conditions, and these ASICs have a critical need for high-performance analog cell libraries to support the mission requirements. Ridgetop says that, with the introduction of silicon germanium (SiGe) semiconductor fabrication processes, there is an opportunity to provide resilient analog and mixed-signal (AMS) data converter designs that handle both temperature and radiation-hardening requirements.

Ridgetop’s library builds on the underlying performance and robustness of SiGe and will include pipeline, flash and successive approximation register (SAR) analog-to-digital data converters (ADCs), as well as capacitor array digital-to-analog data converters (DACs) - all critical functional blocks for many AMS ICs. Ridgetop’s technology supports improved circuit design that will provide both radiation-hardened and extreme temperature performance. Applications for the technology include satellite systems, space exploration vehicles, medical imaging systems, and high-energy physics instrumentation.

“Ridgetop has been very successful in developing custom high-reliability ICs for NASA and other organizations,” claims Andrew Levy, VP of Ridgetop’s Semiconductor and Precision Instruments Division. “NASA has asked Ridgetop to capture some of our design expertise in a library that others may use to design similar chips,” he adds. “This innovative technology will provide substantial benefits to NASA, the space community at large, and others who design and build electronics for extreme conditions.”

Established in 2000, Ridgetop is qualified as an aerospace supplier under its AS9100C certification, and in 2010 became a Category 1A Trusted Supplier under the DoD’s Trusted Foundry Program.

Tags: SiGe


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