The 2013 DesignVision winners announced at DesignCon

EDN Staff -January 29, 2013

When the original SmartFusion customizable system-on-chip (cSoC) was first introduced it made waves as the only device that integrates an FPGA, ARM Cortex M3 and programmable analog, with full customization, IP protection, and ease-of-use. With its proprietary flash process, SmartFusion cSoCs were, and still are, ideal for hardware and embedded designers who need a true system-on-chip (SoC) with more flexibility than traditional fixed-function microcontrollers—without the excessive cost of soft processor cores on traditional FPGAs.

However, with SmartFusion2, Microsemi’s upped the ante with an SoC FPGAs designed to address fundamental requirements for advanced security, high reliability and low power in critical industrial, defense, aviation, communications and medical applications.

Announced in October 2012, SmartFusion2 integrates an inherently reliable flash-based FPGA fabric, a 166MHz ARM Cortex-M3 processor, advanced security processing accelerators, DSP blocks, SRAM, eNVM and industry-required high-performance communication interfaces all on a single chip.

In a time when the Internet of Things is all the rage, SmartFusion2’s designers were aware enough to provide what is probably of the most advanced design and data security capabilities, starting with a robust root-of-trust device with secure key storage capability using the SoC FPGA industry’s only physically unclonable function (PUF) key enrollment and regeneration capability.

SmartFusion2 is also the only SoC FPGA protected from differential power analysis (DPA) attacks using technology from the Cryptographic Research Incorporated (CRI) portfolio. Users may also leverage built-in cryptographic processing accelerators including: advanced encryption standard (AES) AES-256, secure hash algorithm (SHA) SHA-256, 384 bit elliptical curve cryptographic (ECC) engine and a non-deterministic random bit generator (NRBG).

Accoding to MicroSemi, the combination of these features, as well as the flash-based fabric, makes SmartFusion2 the most secure FPGA available in the market. We agree. With other features that include a low-power flash-based fabric, it also redefines low power with 10 milliwatts (mW) of static power for 50K LUT (look-up table) device, including the processor and without sacrificing performance. With the Flash*Freeze standby mode, power drops to 1mW. Congratulations to the MicroSemi team!

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