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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INTERSTELLAR (Building the next generation high-speed data converters to strengthen European excellence and competitiveness on space applications and beyond)


Project ID: 730165

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INTERSTELLAR (Building the next generation high-speed data converters to strengthen European excellence and competitiveness on space applications and beyond)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"The goal of the INTERSTELLAR project is to build the next generation of high-speed data converters (Analog to Digital and Digital to Analog) to strengthen European excellence and competitiveness for Space and other applications

Higher integration with more channels on a board, lower power consumption, larger bandwidth and increased dynamic performance are all at stake here in order to enable the innovation expected by space industry and its customers, the satellite operators. Indeed, operators of currently foreseen satellite-borne telecommunications payloads are demanding more capable On Board Digital Signal Processors in order to interface effectively to complex antennas, flexibly generating hundreds of traffic beams and handling multi-GHz processed bandwidth per port.

This project will allow for providing Space Industry with European key enabling data converters, ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) & DAC (Digital to Analog Converter), to:
* Ensure Europe’s non-dependence for such critical devices
* Boost Europe’s competitiveness
The Space missions for which the developed ADC and DAC are quite relevant are Telecommunications, Navigation, Earth Observation, and Science Missions.

The data converters of INTERSTELLAR show breakthrough innovation to reach Performances & Bandwidths beyond the state-of-the-art; these devices are:
* Multichannel ADC 12-bit resolution - very high bandwidth - high sampling rate - Output High Speed Serial Links
* Multi channel Broadband DAC, very high sampling rate, featuring unprecedented output frequency - Input High Speed Serial Links

The work performed within the project is to design, characterize and mature both ADC & DAC to TRL6 and develop all necessary means.

in summary, here are 6 key objectives of the INTERSTELLAR project:
#1: Review the design and electrically characterize the multichannel 12-bit ADC then mature it up to TRL6.
#2: Design, manufacture, validate, electrically characterize the multi-channel DAC and mature it up to TRL6.
#3: Validate the good behaviour of the ADC and DAC when submitted to mechanical and thermal stresses representative of space environment.
#4: Build and provide to partners demonstration boards to allow validating the devices, then to favour the adoption of the products by the market.
#5: Commercially evaluate the ADC and DAC within industrial applications and prepare the exploitation of the results
#6: Disseminate and communicate the results widely to maximize the impacts of the “INTERSTELLAR” H2020 project

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The reporting Period 1 have seen significant work to set-up the means for electrically evaluating the ADC, (characterization boards, on going development of demonstration board) and to assemble the ""daisy chains"" and the first prototypes that will be electrically characterized during period 2.
At the end of this period 1 everything is in place to enter the following phase that will show concrete results of the ADC on silicon.
Main achievements and /or ongoing work on the period:
ADC design review (with Partners) explaining the key target performances of the device
ADC package design
Definition and specification of the electrical characterizations means (hardware, mechanics and software)
Specification of characterizations means to take into account irradiation tests constraints
Development and manufacturing of the electrical characterizations means
Definition of electrical characterization test plan
Elaboration of a detailed communication plan

The reporting Period 1 have seen significant work to specifiy the DAC in accordance to end-users and market expectations.
The main achievements Of the reporting period 1 of Teledyne e2v and the consortium are:
Selection of ST European BiCMOS process
Feasibility and trade-offs (performance, speed, power) validation regarding the key technical challenges which are HSSLs and extended output bandwidth at High sampling rate
Selection of number of channels and DAC resolution
Definition of the Preliminary Floor-plan
Estimation of die and package sizes
Preliminary Thermal simulation
Sign-off of specification with updated challenging key features ahead of initial target

Overall coordination of the project in order to reach the challenging objectives of this project."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Based on an end-users centered approach, INTERSTELLAR project will see specification, design, manufacturing, characterisation, test, evaluation and maturation to TRL6 of one new broadband DAC and the same steps starting from characterization for one new broadband ADC component. Both devices will be suitable for deployment in space, specifically on telecommunications satellites and for other scientific, observation and navigation missions.
Baseline specifications for the devices include a very high sampling rate, an outstanding analogue bandwidth and serial data bus interfacing for efficient PCB routing implementation.
The goal is that at the end of the project both components shall represent a new state-of-the-art. The ultra-fast maximum real sampling rate in conjunction with the extended analogue bandwidths, attractive linearity performance and specific power consumption levels will make these components very useful in broadband telecommunications applications by reducing or even eliminating the need for RF down and up converters.

All the project's steps will target satisfaction of the customers’ expectations. Providing an answer to the major stake that represents the European non-dependence is also a makor stake. Moreover, the competitiveness of all members involved in the project, but also the competitiveness of the overall European space industry, will be strengthened.

In more detail for the ADC,
The work in INTERSTELLAR is to prepare a relevant response to the future needs of ADC. The plan of the project is to characterize and evaluate a new fourchannel 12bit ADC working at a high sampling rate in the single channel mode and extended input bandwidth . This ADC will feature a worthy application flexibility combined with high dynamic performance and high-speed serial data outputs. Package size and power consumption will be worked out in order to optimize the SWaP (Size, Weight and Power).

In more detail for the DAC with extended output frequency
The work in INTERSTELLAR is to prepare a relevant response to the future needs of DAC, the plan of the project is to develop the next generation of Multichannel DAC relying on proven Teledyne e2v
expertise. The DAC updated objective is reconstructing signals at extremely high clock rate on each channel, with an extended bandwidth, a multimode feature, all combined with high dynamic performance, first-class level of spectral purity and high-speed serial data inputs . Package size and power consumption will be worked out in order to optimize the SWaP.

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