Actel’s Flash FPGAs Defeat Attacks by Earth

According to a comprehensive third-party investigation, Actel’s flash-based field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are immune to configuration upsets caused by high-energy neutrons naturally generated in the earth’s atmosphere. The study also determined that advances in semiconductor manufacturing technology have had a detrimental impact on the reliability of SRAM-based FPGAs, making them more vulnerable to neutron-induced configuration loss, a major concern for designers of high-reliability systems such as medical, telecommunications, storage area network (SAN), military and avionics systems. Configuration loss also poses a threat to the quality of high-volume consumer and automotive applications. The study was conducted in December 2005, by iRoC Technologies at the Los Alamos Neutron Sciences Center (LANSCE) at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The iRoC results demonstrate that neutron-induced configuration upsets pose a real threat to product quality and reliability, an important consideration as semiconductors proliferate into more of the high-reliability systems people depend on every day. Because Actel’s flash-based technologies are inherently immune to these functionality changes, designers can count on the ProASIC3 FPGAs and Fusion Programmable System Chips to protect design integrity, even as process geometries shrink. By eliminating neutron-based firm errors as a source of field failures, Actel allows designers of consumer products to meet stringent price and power goals without compromising product quality.

Source: Actel