Saphyrion is a privately owned research and development company that specializes in the design and development of Space-qualified integrated circuits as well as instruments for GNSS data analysis. For manufacturing a fabless model is used. The target customers are the Aerospace and professional GNSS industry.
Established in February 2009, Saphyrion is located in Bioggio (near Lugano) southern Switzerland.
The business of Saphyrion is currently focused on radiation-hardened Space-qualified RF front-end ASICs - the SY1007 and SY1017C - which were developed mainly under European Space Agency (ESA) contracts. Since for these devices a commercial process (supplied by AMS, Austria) had to be used, Saphyrion developed in-house several design and layout techniques to achieve good radiation hardness from a process originally not meant for Space applications.
As of today Saphyrion is the only manufacturer of Space-qualified (ESCC9000) GNSS RF front-end ASICs in Europe. Using these devices - which can be configured to receive all current L-band GNSS signals - a full GNSS RF front-end channel can be built using just 2 chips.
Thanks to the substantial RF and radiation hardening know-how available and demonstrated by the SY10x7 chip-set, Saphyrion has been awarded further contracts covering the design of different RF front-ends for GNSS and radiometer applications, and a PLL frequency generator.
This initial capability has then been extended and currently spans also to board-level designs and applications. The GDAS GNSS Data Acquisition System is an instrument meant to log GNSS data on all L-band frequencies for subsequent analysis. In cooperation with Airbus Defence and Space, Saphyrion designed the RF subsystem of the GAMIR miniaturized GNSS receiver.
Bespoke design is also available from Saphyrion. During the past few years Saphyrion designed some integrated circuits on customer's specifications. A few GNSS RF front-end ASICs, both L1-only and L1-L2 dual band, for commercial applications were designed. One of them, designed and industrialized for a Russian customer, is currently in full production. ASICs unrelated to GNSS or RF are also designed on request. A single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array for a 3D camera was designed for a Swiss university. Bespoke designs at PCB level are also being made. A few multi-channel, single and multi-frequency GNSS front-end systems for signal analysis and logging have been constructed for a large French customer, which currently uses them quite extensively.
ESA-ESTEC: Contract No. 16353/02/NL/US - Innovative GPS Receiver (SY10x7 chip-set).
ESA-ESTEC: Contract No. 19153/05/NL/CB - Development and Pre-Qualification of RF-ASIC for GNSS Instruments (SY1008).
ESA-ESTEC: Contract No. 22795/09/NL/CT - Definition of enhanced RF Front-End for GNSS Instruments and its Qualification Plan.
ESA-ESTEC: Contract No. 3-2110/11/NL/FvO - Prototype and Characterisation of the Next Generation of GNSS RF Down-Converter ASIC.
ESA-ESTEC: Contract No. AO/1-7589/13/NL/GLC Digital Receiver for Radiometers.
GAMIR - GPS/Galileo Miniaturised Multi-Frequency Space Receiver (RF subsystem of the GAMIR receiver).
Saphyrion one page description (pdf)
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