Skip to Main Content
A gate-level radiation hardening technique for cost-effective reduction of the soft error failure rate in combinational logic circuits is described. The key idea is to exploit the asymmetric logical masking probabilities of gates, hardening gates that have the lowest logical masking probability to achieve cost-effective tradeoffs between overhead and soft error failure rate reduction. The asymmetry in the logical masking probabilities at a gate is leveraged by decoupling the physical from the logical (Boolean) aspects of soft error susceptibility of the gate. Gates are hardened to single-event upsets (SEUs) with specified worst case characteristics in increasing order of their logical masking probability, thereby maximizing the reduction in the soft error failure rate for specified overhead costs (area, power, and delay). Gate sizing for radiation hardening uses a novel gate (transistor) sizing technique that is both efficient and accurate. A full set of experimental results for process technologies ranging from 180 to 70 nm demonstrates the cost-effective tradeoffs that can be achieved. On average, the proposed technique has a radiation hardening overhead of 38.3%, 27.1%, and 3.8% in area, power, and delay for worst case SEUs across the four process technologies.