Frontgrade Technologies provides electronic solutions for the space, military, avionics, medical, and industrial markets. Its products include rad-hard components, customs ASICs, power management solutions, motion control systems, waveguides, and mission processing subsystems.
Veritas Capital acquired CAES Space Systems, a supplier of radiation-hardened electronics, in January and rebranded it as Frontgrade Technologies. The Colorado Springs-based company has over six decades of space flight heritage and is focused on producing radiation-hardened electronics for space operations.
Rad-Hard components are designed to withstand radiation damage that can occur in space, on high altitude flights, at scientific research facilities and in nuclear reactors. They are typically shielded in a layer of depleted boron and are mounted on insulating substrates, instead of on conventional semiconductor wafers.
These are considered the most effective methods of hardening electronics from space radiation. However, they can be expensive to develop and require extensive testing.
Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts are not designed with rad-hardness in mind and are often not as effective. They are usually limited to TID thresholds of 100 krad(Si) and SEL and SEU ranges of 1-120 MeV.
ASICs are application specific integrated circuits designed specifically for a client’s end product. They are often smaller than a single standard product on a PC board, and they use electrical power more efficiently because they contain only the circuitry necessary to perform the desired function.
ASICs are also more difficult to reverse engineer and mimic, meaning that a competitor cannot simply copy the product’s design. These factors are critical to ensuring that a client’s intellectual property is protected.
Power Management Solutions
The frontgrade technologies industry requires power management solutions to support a range of needs such as high reliability, safety and mission critical capabilities. Whether it’s a battery, power source or a telecommunications equipment; the right power management solution will help you achieve your desired design requirements.
ADI’s power portfolio continues to support the specific needs of the ADEF power management market with industry-leading quality and reliability. Our LT, LTC and LTM prefixed products are electrical tested at room temperature to data sheet electrical characteristics limits.
A wide variety of energy saving techniques are available to reduce the power usage and save money. Some of the most common techniques include turning off screen savers, shutting down computers during non-office hours and using power management software for desktops.
Motion Control Systems
Motion control systems are the backbone of critical systems used in many different industries. These include transportation, medical, metal and machinery manufacturing, oil and gas, textile and energy.
In a basic motion control system, the main controller generates a set of commands that guide the motion of a motor. These are then sent to the drive, which amplifies them in the digital or analog form and drives the motor in a closed loop system.
The drive uses a variety of position feedback devices to provide the correct positioning and velocity information for the motor or load. The most common feedback device is an encoder, which can be rotary or linear and can go to sub-micron resolutions.
Waveguides are devices that can propagate waves, allowing them to transmit signals through them. They are a key component of frontgrade technologies, such as those used in space and defense.
A waveguide must have a certain minimum cross section relative to the wavelength of the signal, which determines the frequency it can support and in which modes it will operate. These cross sections can be rectangular, circular, or elliptical.
In a waveguide, electromagnetic fields are completely contained inside the waveguide and shielded from the inside to the outside (radiation reductions are minimal) as well as from the outside into the waveguide. This gives good immunity from unwanted signals.
Antennas are the core of many wireless communication applications. They provide a way to boost the strength of EM waves so that they can be sent over longer distances or more easily reflected back into the receiving device.
An antenna’s gain is a result of the electromagnetic (EM) wave’s radiation pattern and its impedance. It’s also influenced by the direction in which the EM waves are reflected.
A radio wave may have different impedances at several interfaces (such as the radio, feed line and antenna). A fraction of the wave’s energy will reflect off these surfaces and return to the source. This is called the standing wave ratio (SWR).
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