Aerospace ASIC Design

System to ASIC has extensive experience in ASIC design and manufacturing services for aerospace applications.  This includes ASICs for cockpit lighting control that compensates for sunlight to night vision, on-board data handling protocols such as MIL-STD-1553B, high speed high accuracy accelerometer processing for inertial guidance, and many other important technologies used for flight.  An aerospace ASIC must function flawlessly across extreme temperatures, shock, vibration, interference from high power communications devices, and in some cases, radiation exposure.  STA specializes in addressing the challenges of operation in a very harsh working environment and over the years has developed a broad profile of robust ASIC design solutions for reliable operation in the very harsh environment that is aerospace.  Some examples of our aerospace ASICs are summarized below:

Flight Controls Backlighting ASIC


A Flight Controls Backlighting ASIC is employed in human factors driven backlighting of cockpit control switches and status indicators. In high ambient light conditions such as mid-day sun, backlighting requires high luminosity to improve contrast between switch/indicator light and ambient light.  For low ambient light conditions the backlight must be reduced to maintain an optimal contrast between switch lighting and ambient light conditions to avoid light pollution resulting in reduced response to alert indicators and other visual inputs. In special cases of very low to no ambient light such night missions, switch and indicator lighting can be adapted to preserve an operators low light sensitivity, visual acuity, and prevent interference with use night vision optics. The FCB ASIC is equipped with 3 independent LED drive channels, each with a programmable 16-bit PWM dimming control, providing a very wide dynamic range of luminosity and color mixing.  The wide dynamic range and color control allow switch/indicator display to be tuned to ambient light and context condition

Flight Controls Backlighting ASIC Development Results:

  • Footprint reduction allowing integration into broad class of control switches
  • Functionality per area not available with COTS
  • Development cycle 26 weeks

Cockpit Controls Backlighting ASIC Functional Features:

  • Low ripple luminosity control
  • 3-Channel control for color mixing and luminance
  • Separate linear drive channel for night vision mode
  • Retrofit capable with read of global analog lighting control level

Cockpit Controls Backlighting ASIC Performance Features:

  • ADC 10-bit for retrofit on analog lighting control bus
  • 3-Channel 16-bit PWM Dimming control
  • 1-Channel 10-bit linear control for night vision mode
  • EEPROM configuration settings
  • High RFI/EMI noise immunity input pin architecture.


Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) ASIC


The IMU ASIC is the signal conditioning and processing engine for building a 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) using solid-state MEMS sense elements.  The combination of an IMU ASIC, MEMS sensors, and a microcontroller are the basis for realizing an important aerospace navigation solution that meets demanding aerospace goals. The IMU ASIC provides resources for 3-axes of linear acceleration and 3-axes of angular rate, and includes accurate temperature measurement resources for compensation critical to maintaining calibration, scale factor, and bias.  Capacitance change of MEMS elements for monitoring acceleration and angular rate is measured, digitized, and held in a on board FIFO for the host controller to retrieve and process into meaningful inertial measurement data.

The IMU ASIC provides critical resources required to produce an important aerospace navigation tool in a very small, low mass, robust package. The ASIC includes a high-accuracy, stabile temperature measurement module for bias and monitor of an external RTD sense element, tracking MEMS sensor temperature for calculated compensation.

Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) ASIC Development Results:

  • Very small, low mass, robust package suitable for aerospace deployment
  • Functionality per area not available with COTS
  • Development cycle 26 weeks

Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) ASIC Functional Features:

  • 3-axis Angular Rate monitor with very low angle walk (drift)
  • 3-axis Acceleration monitor
  • Temperature sensor module for thermal compensation
  • Continuous built in test
  • High-speed serial interface for host processor interface

Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) ASIC Performance Features:

  • 16-bit resolution for 6-axes of measurement
  • Low noise closed loop dither drive (gyro bias) for < 0.07 deg/√hr
  • Low noise accelerometer signal chain capable of < 150mm/10 sec drift
  • High stability RTD bias ± 0.1 °C
  • High RFI/EMI noise immunity input pin architecture.