Journal Article Development of an ASIC preamplifier for electromagnetic sensor probes for monitoring space electromagnetic environments

Ozaki, Mitsunori  ,  Yagitani, Satoshi  ,  Kojima, Hirotsugu  ,  Takahashi, Ken  ,  Koji, Hiroki  ,  Zushi, Takahiro  ,  Tokunaga, Yuya

682016-05-28 , SpringerOpen
[Background]Multipoint observations of plasma waves are essential for separating spatial and temporal variations of a plasma turbulence. Miniaturization and high environmental (temperature and radiation) robustness are key requirements for scientific instrument design toward a sensor network consisting of palm-sized probes. With increasing these demands, a preamplifier for the 3-axis loop antenna of an electromagnetic sensor probe has been developed by using application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) technology with a 0.25-μm complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor process. [Findings]In the present study, a new temperature compensation method is proposed by using the open-loop gain of the ASIC preamplifier with a bandgap reference (BGR) circuit. Usually, the gain is characterized by the closed-loop gain, which is governed by the accuracy of the polysilicon resistances in a chip. The open-loop gain is characterized by the effective transconductance of the ASIC preamplifier, which often has a negative temperature dependence. The temperature dependence of the gain can be dramatically improved by using the temperature-compensated BGR circuit to cancel out the negative dependence of the transconductance. The temperature dependence of the gain was about −0.01−0.01 dB/∘∘C in the frequency range within the closed-loop bandwidth. On the other hand, the temperature dependence of the gain at 60 kHz operating with the open-loop gain was improved from −39×10[−3]−39×10−3 to −2.6×10[−3]−2.6×10[−3] dB/℃ by using the temperature-compensated BGR circuit. Moreover, the radiation robustness for the total ionizing dose (TID) level is evaluated by irradiation with gamma rays from cobalt-60. The ASIC preamplifier is not sensitive to TID effects when a thin gate oxide is used. The ASIC preamplifier showed a high radiation tolerance to at least a total ionizing dose level of 400 krad(Si). Finally, the effectiveness of the ASIC preamplifier is evaluated on the basis of a virtual sounding rocket experiment using theoretical calculations of LF standard electromagnetic waves. [Conclusions]Fundamental issues (miniaturization, low-noise performance, and high environmental robustness) are solved by the presented ASIC preamplifier. The success in developing the high robustness ASIC preamplifier leads to a future mission using a lot of palm-sized probes in space.

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