Internet-of-Space – the future of a nationwide broadband Internet access?
Today, about 60% of the world’s population has no access to the Internet. As a result, interest in space- and suborbital-based communication networks with high data rates has increased, because there is also a gap in the networking between rural regions and the cities.
For this reason, intensive research is being conducted to find solutions to guarantee error-free and smooth data communication with high bandwidth. Satellite communication networks, the so-called Internet of Space, are ideal for this purpose. Due to systems miniaturization, satellites are becoming smaller and smaller. Thus, several satellites can be cost-effectively brought into orbit with one rocket launch.
One of the major challenges of this concept is the radioactive radiation in space since most electronic semiconductor components are susceptible to radiation damage. Due to the extensive development and testing required to produce a radiation tolerant design of a microelectronic chip, the realization of this concept is extremely complex.
Resistive Random-Access Memory (RRAM) technologies, in which electrical switching properties are based on ions instead of electrons, are particularly suitable as radiation-resistant memories. In order to achieve the necessary reliability of the CMOS electronics used in space, it is recommended to store the contents of the entire computer system in a secure backup memory.
With the aim of shifting part of the processing load into the RRAM memory in the sense of an intelligent in-memory computing concept, the joint DFG project: „Memristive In-Memory-Computing: Radiation hard Memory for Computing in Space (MIMEC)“ is starting with the University of Bayreuth, the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, the University of Cottbus and the Leibniz Institute for Innovative Microelectronics (IHP), which was acquired within the DFG Priority Program „Memristive Components for Intelligent Technical Systems“. In-memory operations in the radiation hard sense amplifiers of a RRAM array will be transferred to the processing step by signal evaluation and direct integration of memristive RRAM cells. To verify the functionality of the radiation hard system architecture, intensive simulation work is performed. In the simulation environment a new model for memristive devices is used to investigate the entire radiation hard system architecture using in-memory computing.
The project will focus on the exploration of new technological and computer-based ideas that will be integrated into the current state of the art. The radiation hard memory approach with a new non-volatile memory concept, the so-called RRAM, will be the core of the project work. In order to achieve this goal, a highly innovative technology approach will be implemented, which will enable novel Internet of Space applications.