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Radiation Effects on Electronic Circuits

CMOS integrated circuits present reliability issues in presence of ionizing radiation. If the stray charge gets trapped in the gate oxide it may produce a cumulative parameter shift and performance degradation. This is usually referenced as Total Ionization Dose (TID) effect. On the other hand, the charged particles can induce instantaneous damage, affecting the data integrity (soft errors) and even the silicon structures (hard errors). Soft errors are reversible, like Single Event Upset (SEU), Multiple Bit Upset (MBU) or Single Event Transient (SET), but hard errors can be destructive, like Single Event Latch-up (SEL).

Different fields of research may be addressed within this topic. Of special interest are the simulation of radiation effects on electronic circuits, analysis of single event effects on electronics and radiation hardened by design implementations.

The LSI has been working in recent years in radiation-hardened circuit design (scrubber design for FPGAs, rad-hard integrated circuits…), simulation of radiation effects on microelectronic circuits and soft error analysis.

The LSI is actively involved in the research area of Robust and Energy-efficient Circuit Design. The projects TOLERA and RAD-HARQ deal with this topic.