We have proposed to deliver a comprehensive, and conceptually validated feasibility study (in PH 1) for a novel compact ,cold capable (-200 °C), scalable, Rad-hard RF Modulator (CCM) operating to 500MHz. CCM is used as a common subsection of cold capable radios both on the transmitter and receiver side, operates in extreme low temperature rad-hard space environment in excess of 2Mrad-Si and SEL immune. Our intent is to successfully complete the Phase 1 study and deliver a clear design road-map to the implementation and fabrication of the design using SiGe-HBT in PH2. The modulator application starts in the communication systems but extends to navigation modules, its low phase jitter makes it quite suitable for in-situ and agile DSP for robotic systems, sensors in harsh environment and software defined radio (SDR). Furthermore, in addition to being a basic rugged and rad-hard modulator, it is directly adaptable to be used as a stable frequency source for many applications including the local oscillator for critical navigation and also in the signal chain that is typically used in mobile and agile radar. The compact nature of the design stems from our capability to integrate smallest piezoelectric crystals in the same hybrid enclosure as the ASIC. Our present capabilities produce the resonator size down to 2.5 mm so an integrated hybrid CCM will be super compact and its volume to be in the 1cc range. The objective includes scalability and hi-reliability assembly techniques already established in our company. CCM design includes amplifiers, varactor diodes, voltage reference and on-chip inductor. Individual circuit blocks by themselves will be designed on the SiGe-HBT process that will be part of the investigation in PH1 to be implemented in PH2. Adaptability of CCM to be used as a very stable and low phase noise source without the need for any thermal stabilization, enables new paradigm for autonomous robotic navigation.
Low power, compact and high radiation tolerance (>2Mrad-si) envisioned for the cold capable modulator intends to be used in wide range of deep space robotics applications including radios (both transmitter and receiver) as well as many examples described in the decadal survey and FARSIDE plans. cold capable and high TID tolerance makes it a preferred choice suitable for missions that need such performance and reliability. the Individual circuit blocks like SiGe amplifier, varactor diode and voltage reference have existing space applications.
In addition to the NASA applications, Due to the specific circuits used in the CCM, CCM and its individual circuit blocks would provide solutions for many space and non-space applications. Usage of high Ft SiGe-HBT leads to RF amplifiers, VCO and components such as varactor diodes temp. sensor and voltage reference offer advantages not typically available in other RF rad hard ASICs .