FY19 ANNUAL REPORT
High-performance digital radar for multi-mission intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Sandia researcher Jacques Loui and his team demonstrated an ultra-wide-band (UWB), multi- mission modular digital radar architecture that overcame limitations of single-application analog radar designs by leveraging commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, existing/new firmware/software intellectual properties, and available radio frequency (RF) apertures. The team demonstrated several Sandia firsts in real-time ultra-wide- band sensing, including multi-channel clock synchronization, advanced arbitrary waveform generation, frequency- domain channelization, and single-stage-heterodyne conversion using advanced COTS and custom RF modules. The High-Performance Digital Radar (HPDR) significantly advanced the state-of-the-art for Sandia radar system architectures by replacing static analog waveform generation and detection with agile digital waveform synthesis and signal processing. The project culminated with a successful flight test that demonstrated integration of the HPDR with an operational radar and creation of high-resolution synthetic aperture radar imagery. The innovations resulting from the HPDR project are already having significant impact, with funding for follow- on development from an important national security program and potential application in several projects within the radar intelligence, The team produced this high-resolution Digital Synthetic Aperture Radar (DSAR) image from the successful initial HPDR flight test in 2019.
surveillance, and reconnaissance mission space.
Adopting advanced commercial CMOS technology for rad-hard applications. The performance of Nuclear Deterrence (ND) systems could be improved by adopting advanced commercial complementary metal-ox- ide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies. However, the radiation hardness of these systems must be assured. This project quantified dose-rate upset thresholds, allowing the team to evaluate whether advanced commercial tech - nologies could be used in rad-hard applications, to evaluate the susceptibility of advanced commercial technologies
to neutron displacement damage and single-event effects, and to develop hardness assurance methods. As a result of the work, Sandia is collaborating more closely with DoD agencies and their contractors to understand and improve the radia- tion hardness of advanced commercial technologies. Sandia capabilities (SPHINX, Ion Beam Lab, and field programmable gate array test capabilities) were developed and are now being utilized by other programs, and staff were trained to perform radiation survivability testing. One of the external collaborators includes Georgia Tech. This project received the Best Paper award at the 2019 Hardened Electronics and Radiation Tech- nology (HEART) Conference.
Circuit boards, such as the one on the left, were irradiated with neutrons at the Sandia Ion Beam Laboratory’s new 14 MeV neutron facility, which provides a capability recently developed under LDRD funding (see page 12), to investigate neutron displacement damage and single-event effects. Experiments like these revealed the radiation failure levels and failure mechanisms in cutting-edge commercial CMOS technologies.
LABORATORY DIRECTED RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
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