Radiation Hardness Assurance


Heavy Ion Single Event Effects Test Results of the Magnetometer Frontend ASIC 

Raphael Steinhöfler1

1 Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences



The magnetometer frontend ASIC (MFA-4) is a mixed signal chip that includes the circuitry necessary for operating a fluxgate sensor. Since years, this sensor technology constitutes the high-quality standard for magnetic field measurements in space. For each axis, a set of three coils provides magnetic excitation, sensing and compensation and requires a considerable extent of circuitry such as low noise amplifiers, demodulators [1], an analog to digital converter, signal processing logic and a high-precision, low-noise delta-sigma digital to analog converter with a fully differential current output stage [2].

A reduced version of this circuitry was implemented on a 180nm process. The silicon die was biased and exposed to a heavy ion beam at the Cyclotron of UCLouvain, during beamtime provided by the RADNEXT project [3]. Operational parameters and output signals were monitored during the process. We present the basic functionality of the ASIC and the findings from heavy ion irradiation up to 100 MeVcm²/mg.


[1]     M. Scherzer, M. Auer and W. Magnes, "An Integrated Analog Lock-In Amplifier using a Passive 3-Path Band-Pass Filter for a Fluxgate Sensor Readout Circuit," 2023 21st IEEE Interregional NEWCAS Conference (NEWCAS), Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 2023, pp. 1-4, doi: 10.1109/NEWCAS57931.2023.10198130.

[2]     M. Auer and M. Scherzer, "A High Precision Digitally-Controlled Current Source for Magnetic-Field Measurements in Space," 2019 IEEE 62nd International Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems (MWSCAS), Dallas, TX, USA, 2019, pp. 5-8, doi: 10.1109/MWSCAS.2019.8884931.

[3]     R. G. Alía et al., "Heavy Ion Energy Deposition and SEE Intercomparison Within the RADNEXT Irradiation Facility Network," in IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, vol. 70, no. 8, pp. 1596-1605, Aug. 2023, doi: 10.1109/TNS.2023.3260309.



We acknowledge and thank the RADNEXT project for enabling these heavy ion tests on our Magnetometer frontend ASIC, providing an insight into the capabilities of the used semiconductor technology.

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