Microsemi has introduced its PolarFire range of FPGAs, which it claims can deliver the industry’s lowest power at mid-range densities with 12.7Gbps Serialiser/Deserialiser (SerDes) transceivers.

The programmables offer up to 500k logic elements, 12.7G transceivers at up to 50% lower power than competing mid-range FPGAs and also feature optimised security and reliability. Microsemi aims the product family for a range of applications within wireline access networks and cellular infrastructure, defence and commercial aviation markets, as well as Industry 4.0 which includes the industrial automation and Internet of Things (IoT) markets.

For the communications infrastructure market, Microsemi said the devices provide cost-effective bandwidth processing capabilities for the increasing number of converged 10Gbps ports with the lowest power footprint. The new FPGA product family also contains features to address the market’s concerns over cyber security threats as well as reliability concerns that face deep submicron SRAM-based FPGAs as they relate to single event upsets (SEUs) in their configuration memory. The company says that a radiation-induced event that could 'flip' a bit in the configuration SRAM of a competitive part would leave its non-volatile configuration memory unaffected. Additional features to aid with reliability include built-in single error correction and double error detection (SECDED) as well as memory interleaving on large static random access memory (LSRAMs) and system controller suspend mode for safety critical design

Applications sought in the communications market include wireline access, network edge, metro (1-40G); wireless heterogeneous networks, wireless backhaul, smart optical modules and video broadcasting. The devices are also suited to applications within the defence and aerospace market, such as encryption and root of trust, secure wireless communications, radar and electronic warfare (EW), aircraft networking, actuation and control. Suitable applications for the FPGAs within the industrial market include process control and automation, machine vision processing and analytics, programmable logic controllers, industrial networking, and video and image processing.

In collaboration with Silicon Creations, Microsemi has developed a 12.7Gbps transceiver fully optimised to be area efficient and low power, resulting in total power of less than 90mW at 10Gbps. With low device static power of 25mW at 100k logic elements (LEs), zero inrush current and its Flash Freeze mode for standby power of 130mW at 25°C, PolarFire devices are up to 50% lower power than competing FPGAs for the same application. Microsemi provides designers with a power estimator to analyse power consumption of their designs.

PolarFire FPGAs offer Cryptography Research Incorporated (CRI) patented differential power analysis (DPA) bitstream protection, integrated physically unclonable function (PUF), 56kB of secure embedded non-volatile memory (eNVM), built-in tamper detectors and countermeasures, true random number generators, integrated Athena TeraFire EXP5200B Crypto Co-processors (Suite B capable) and a CRI DPA countermeasures pass-through license.

The devices’ architecture uses 28nm Silicon-Oxide-Nitride-Oxide-Silicon (SONOS) non-volatile process technology on standard CMOS. PolarFire FPGAs also incorporate transceiver performance optimised for 12.7Gbps enabling smaller size and lowest power, hardened I/O gearing logic for double date rate (DDR) memory and low-voltage differential signalling (LVDS), high performance security IP and the industry’s only low cost mid-range device with clock and data recovery (CDR) capable 1.6Gbps I/Os.

Microsemi’s Libero SoC design tools have been extended to PolarFire FPGAs. The suite includes a complete design flow with Synopsys Synplify Pro synthesis and Mentor Graphics ModelSim Pro mixed-language simulation with best-in-class constraints management and Microsemi’s differentiated FPGA debugging suite, SmartDebug. Popular IP solutions for 1G Ethernet, 10G Ethernet, JESD204B, DDR memory interfaces, AXI4 interconnect IPs and others are available for use with PolarFire devices. The series also features SmartDebug – Live Probe: without any overhead or re-compilation, any two points within the device can be brought out to display waveforms on an oscilloscope. SerDes debug, displaying a true eye diagram of a high-speed serial waveform, is also provided. A high performance evaluation kit will be available in the second quarter of 2017, with a lower-cost version with a selection of popular interfaces, in Q3.

Microsemi's PolarFire FPGA product family is shipping to early access customers now and samples for general availability will be offered in the second quarter of 2017.